Occupational Therapy students at American International College spent the past year visiting health facilities to see if what they learned in the classroom is actually being used in the field. The OT students, who are graduating in August, 2013, completed their scholarly projects and presented the results to faculty on Thursday, July 11 in the Courniotes Hall Amphitheatre.
As an outcome of the Master of Science in Occupational Therapy degree program, graduating students are expected to conduct a scholarly project related to occupational therapy practice.
All of the students participated in the same project that was entitled "Identifying the Types of Occupational Therapy Interventions Used in Medical/Educational Settings." Two of the teams of students analyzed data from physical disabilities settings including in-patient hospital units or out-patient rehabilitation centers. One team focused on mental health settings or other medical settings where cognition/memory problems were the focus of treatment. The final team analyzed data from school systems.
The students observed supervisors and licensed therapists at a variety of locations, exploring the types of intervention activities that are most used in occupational therapy practice settings.
During the Fall Semester, 2012, students and faculty designed a measurement tool to collect observational data. The project was continued during the Spring Semester, 2013, as 17 students collected data from over 30 settings, including in-patient hospitals, out-patient rehabilitation centers, school systems and skilled nursing facilities in the Northeast region. Student teams representing physical disabilities sites, mental health settings and school systems analyzed the data.
Cathy Dow-Royer, director of the Division of Occupational Therapy, said the students not only gained knowledge about how to develop a measurement tool, but gained practical experiences about data collection and analysis. Most beneficial, were the discussions about why certain types of interventions seemed to be selected more than others," she said.