Graduation Date


Document Type

Master's Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science in Occupational Therapy

Department or Program

Occupational Therapy

Department or Program Chair

Ruth Ramsey, EdD, OTR/L

First Reader

Eira Klich-Heartt, DNP, RN, CNS, CNL


Background. Collaboration between occupational therapists and nurses is key to a positive prognosis for their patients. Currently, there is a gap in the research on professional relationships between occupational therapists and registered nurses in acute care settings.

Purpose. To examine interprofessional collaboration between registered nurses and occupational therapy in an acute care setting.

Methods. A phenomenological, qualitative design with use of semi-structured interviews was used. Interviewees were four occupational therapists and four registered nurses who currently work in acute care settings in Northern California and were recruited through a snowball, convenience and purposive sampling. Themes and subthemes that emerged from the data answered the research questions.

Findings. The key factors preventing collaboration were: Time constraints, role confusion and overlap, personality factors, and lack of occupational therapy advocacy.

Implications. This study may guide the development of interprofessional education to improve the collaborative relationship between occupational therapists and nurses to ultimately improve quality of care.