Poster Session
Issue Date: August 2016
Published Online: August 01, 2016
Updated: January 01, 2021
Student Responses to the Use of Simulation in Combination With Traditional Level I Fieldwork
Author Affiliations
  • University of St. Augustine–San Marcos
Article Information
Education of OTs and OTAs / Basic Research
Poster Session   |   August 01, 2016
Student Responses to the Use of Simulation in Combination With Traditional Level I Fieldwork
American Journal of Occupational Therapy, August 2016, Vol. 70, 7011505105.
American Journal of Occupational Therapy, August 2016, Vol. 70, 7011505105.

Date Presented 4/7/2016

This study examined the use of simulation as a method for delivering clinical experiences in conjunction with Level I fieldwork. Measurements were critical thinking and perceptions of simulation. Curricula for the use of simulation as a part of Level I fieldwork were developed.

Primary Author and Speaker: Holly Reed

PURPOSE: The purpose of this study was to compare the experiences of occupational therapy students who were involved in different types of Level I fieldwork, contrasting a traditional model with a clinical/simulation combined model. The study questions addressed were
1. What are the differences in critical thinking abilities, as measured by the Health Sciences Reasoning Test (HSRT), a measure of critical thinking for health care professionals, between students who have a traditional Level I experience compared with students who have shorter term traditional Level I experiences combined with structured simulation experiences?
2. How do students perceive the experience of the simulation/traditional Level I fieldwork?
This study hypothesized that students participating in the simulation combined with traditional Level I fieldwork would score at the same or higher levels on the HSRT than students participating in traditional Level I fieldwork.
RATIONALE: There are significant shortages of Level I fieldwork sites across the country. Educational programs need to explore alternative ways for students to gain the clinical skills they will need for professional practice. There is a growing body of research on the use of simulation to build these clinical skills. This research is needed to provide evidence on simulation and how it affects students’ critical thinking and to understand how students feel about simulated experiences.
DESIGN: This study was a fully randomized, quasi-experimental, mixed-methods design. The focus of this research was twofold: a quantitative analysis of the data gathered through the HSRT and a qualitative analysis of student feedback on an open-ended survey completed after participation in the alternative fieldwork experience.
PARTICIPANTS: This study used a population of students who completed their second and third terms over the course of 1 yr (N = 61). Students were randomly assigned to the control group (four traditional Level I experiences over two trimesters) or the intervention group (one traditional and one simulation experience each term for two terms).
METHOD: All students took the HSRT as a pretest at the beginning of the second term and as a posttest at the end of the third term. Qualitative data were collected from the simulation participants using a 13-question open-ended survey to gain insight into how the students felt about the simulation, what they learned, and how they felt the simulation compared with traditional clinical experiences.
ANALYSIS: Quantitative data were analyzed using an analysis of covariance procedure controlling for age, pretest score, and total time on test. Qualitative data were analyzed using Saturate using a postpositivist approach.
RESULTS: Quantitative data showed that students had no significant differences in their critical thinking skills scores. Qualitative data emerged into four themes that demonstrated how students learned and the increases in confidence from experiencing the simulation.
DISCUSSION: Students significantly preferred the combination of simulation and clinical experiences, feeling that this combination allowed them to practice their clinical skills without risk while still allowing them to see the skills they were learning applied to actual patients. Students reported that they felt they were better prepared than their classmates in the control group and requested that more simulation be integrated into Level I fieldwork throughout the program.
IMPACT STATEMENT: Results of this study allowed for the development of three new curricular models that include simulation as a part of Level I fieldwork. These models could enable academic programs to reduce the amount of time required at clinical sites, thus reducing the burden on the clinical community.