Temple Times Online Edition
    SEPTEMBER 16, 2004
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New tool evaluates professional behavior of students in occupational therapy


As occupational therapy and occupational therapy assistant students across the country prepare to make the transition from classroom to clinic, many university OT programs are putting greater emphasis on evaluating each student’s ability to lead, prioritize, organize and communicate in today’s practice arena.

“In addition to skill development, students must exhibit a host of professional behaviors that facilitate successful interaction with patients, families and colleagues,” said Kristie Koenig, assistant professor in the occupational therapy department at the College of Health Professions.

To measure students’ ability to think critically and act reasonably, as well as to prove their ability to take initiative and interact with people in a professional environment, Koenig and her colleagues from Thomas Jefferson University, University of the Sciences of Philadelphia, Philadelphia University and Harcum College created a new evaluation tool. The Philadelphia Region Fieldwork Consortium Level I Student Evaluation has been adopted by more than 25 institutions across the country, including Temple, Ithaca (N.Y.) College, the University of Wisconsin and Creighton University (Neb.).

“Student failure in the clinical education component of the curriculum often has its origins in professional behavior issues. Until now, however, these behaviors have not been operationalized and were not measured directly,” Koenig said.

Koenig recommends the PRFC Level I Student Evaluation for allied health education programs interested in identifying and intervening with at-risk students who need additional help with developing awareness, insight, and competence with skills characteristic of a healthcare professional.

-By Tory Harris