Pilot of a Simulated Clinical Placement in Occupational Therapy Education in an Australian University Delivered Online: A Cross-Sectional Study of Students' Perceptions

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In response to COVID-19, the widespread cancellation of professional practice placements, and the increased uptake of telehealth, Monash University Department of Occupational Therapy developed a simulated clinical placement adapted for online delivery. This paper describes the placement, and reports on the benefits and challenges of participating from the student perspective. This exploratory, descriptive study used a cross-sectional design with a web-based survey administered to students who completed the placement. Participants were first year Master of Occupational Therapy Practice students (n = 33), and second year Bachelor of Occupational Therapy students (n = 32). Numerical data were analyzed descriptively. Content of the open text responses were analyzed using content analysis. The majority of students reported they found the placement either extremely useful or moderately useful. The aspect reported as being the most useful was receiving immediate supervisor feedback, followed by interviewing a patient and interviewing a stakeholder. Working in a telehealth environment was identified as extremely or moderately useful by most students. Four content categories were identified: An incredible chance to practice in a safe environment; The good and the bad about working in groups; Too many tasks to juggle; and Online delivery prepares for working in telehealth. Use of telehealth in occupational therapy practice will continue into the future. Educators therefore need to ensure their graduates have the skills needed for this practice area. Participating in a simulated clinical placement delivered online enables students to practice communication in a safe environment, while gaining valuable skills to prepare for working in telehealth.
Original languageEnglish
Article number12
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of Occupational Therapy Education
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2023


  • Occupational Therapy
  • Education
  • Simulation

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