Student Speech and Language Therapists’ Knowledge of the Role of an Occupational Therapist
Cardiff Metropolitan University
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A key barrier which prevents successful interprofessional working within healthcare teams is a lack of knowledge of the roles held by team members. Knowledge and confidence were compared between two groups of students, one of which had previous contact with occupational therapy on clinical placements, and the other which did not have contact, with the aim of discovering if contact with occupational therapy on clinical placements improves knowledge of the profession, and confidence in working with them. Seventeen fourth year speech and language therapy students from one university in the UK participated in this study, and data was collected through an open questionnaire, which included case scenarios as well as Likert scales to self rate confidence. This research found no difference in confidence between the two groups, but identified a difference in levels of knowledge. It was proposed that knowledge of occupational therapy is of two types, a surface knowledge and a deeper knowledge, and in the case of this research, the deeper knowledge was found to be acquired through contact on clinical placements. This finding suggests that all students should have an opportunity to observe or work collaboratively with occupational therapy at some point during the course to be enabled to acquire this deeper knowledge which is essential for effective interprofessional working.
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