Dorothy Peterson Bethea, Dahlia Cavazos Castillo, Neil Harvison; Use of Simulation in Occupational Therapy Education: Way of the Future?. Am J Occup Ther 2014;68(Supplement_2):S32–S39. https://doi.org/10.5014/ajot.2014.012716
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© 2021 American Occupational Therapy Association
OBJECTIVE. A national study explored the use of simulated learning experiences in U.S. occupational therapy and occupational therapy assistant entry-level academic programs.
METHOD. Program faculty at 245 of 310 occupational therapy assistant and occupational therapy entry-level programs completed a self-reported 23-question online survey on the use of simulation and its challenges and benefits. Data were analyzed using frequency, percentage, and thematic coding.
RESULTS. Of 245 programs, 175 (71%) reported using simulation, with the most common teaching methods incorporating human actors and students and video cases. Simulated scenarios were primarily presented in intervention courses (90%). Faculty provided feedback that benefits of the simulated experience were increased critical reasoning, problem solving and decision making, and communication among students. Challenges were time, cost, and scheduling.
CONCLUSION. Findings were similar to those in the literature in terms of simulated learning’s uses, benefits, and challenges. Further research on student learning outcomes and pedagogy in occupational therapy is recommended.
What methods of simulation are being used in occupational therapy and occupational therapy assistant education for student learning?
What are challenges, strengths, or learned lessons of programs and faculty that incorporate simulation into occupational therapy and occupational therapy assistant education?
Standardized patient simulation involves people trained to play the roles of patients, family members, or others (Bradley, 2006; Rosen, 2008; Thompson, 2011).
Human patient simulation is use of a computerized full-body low-, mid-, or high-fidelity mannequin that is capable of providing real-time physiological and pharmacological responses to various health conditions and interventions (Johnson, Flagg, & Dremsa, 2008; Rosen, 2008).
Computerized software simulation is use of computer-based programs to practice decision making and skills such as part-task training, advanced cardiac life support, and trauma management training (Bradley, 2006; Rosen, 2008; Thompson, 2011).
Virtual immersive-reality simulation uses advanced computerized technology to allow learning by projecting or immersing the person into the computerized environment or setting. The person’s movement becomes the actual motion of the game (Bradley, 2006; Rosen, 2008).
Simulated training equipment may encompass skillful interaction with equipment in a realistic environment, primarily to teach skills and focus on an isolated task correlated with the equipment. We added this category to encompass approaches used in occupational therapy such as driver simulation.
Because of the array of methods to deliver simulation that programs identified (e.g., use of actors, video cases, high- or low-fidelity mannequins, and other computerized equipment), it is important to determine the effectiveness of each approach to identify best-practice scenarios.
It is important that occupational therapy practitioners continue to research and disseminate results of using simulation relative to student learning outcomes and pedagogy. This will allow us to define and broadly identify parameters for continued use in the profession.
Moreover, it is essential to determine to what extent the use of simulation builds and enhances the foundational and clinical skills and competencies required of students to meet the demands for entry-level practice and current health care trends. In other words, where in the educational arena might simulation experiences be of most value? Some have questioned whether simulated learning has a place as a component of fieldwork.
On the basis of these findings, simulation appears to be used to some extent in more than half of occupational therapy educational programs. Therefore, with future research, does a need exist for the profession to consider adopting a position on simulation in terms of parameters for its uses in educating future practitioners?
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