OT Practitioners’ and OT Students’ Perceptions of Entry-Level Competency for Occupational Therapy Practice

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The Open Journal of Occupational Therapy, Vol: 4, Issue: 4

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Wallingford, Minetta; Knecht-Sabres, Lisa J.; Lee, Michelle M; St.Amand, LaVonne Ellen
WMU Department of Occupational Therapy; Department of Occupational Therapy in the College of Health and Human Services, Western Michigan University
Entry-level competency; Level II fieldwork; Competence; Entry-level practice; Occupational Therapy; Medicine and Health Sciences
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article description
This study examined occupational therapy (OT) practitioners’ and OT students’ perceptions of the importance of 12 specific OT-related entry-level competency skills and the number of weeks required to consistently demonstrate skills for entry-level competency. The results indicated that, on average, practitioners (n = 39) and students (n = 38) agreed that all of the items were important. However, the students had significantly higher ratings regarding the importance of communication, occupation and client-centered goals, time management, interventions, and use of theory and evidence. They also rated a higher number of minimum weeks required to consistently demonstrate entry-level competency. The students who rated use of theory and evidence higher also rated a greater number of weeks to consistently demonstrate entry-level competency (Pearson r = .38; p= .02). The practitioners who rated psychosocial factors higher also rated a greater number of weeks to consistently demonstrate entry-level competency (Pearson r = .33, p = .04). These findings support the need for further research on defining entry-level competence and highlight the importance of communication between OT practitioners, students, and academic fieldwork coordinators to clarify which competencies are perceived as most important and the expectations regarding how long it takes for students to demonstrate them consistently.