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

Second Reader

Barbara McCamish, MSN, MPT, RN, CNL


The use of standardized patients (SPs) in occupational therapy (OT) education has greatly increased in recent years; however, there is limited research on the perceptions of student’s clinical readiness utilizing SPs and whether or not the utilization of SPs prepare students for fieldwork. The purpose of this study was to examine the perceptions of SPs in OT education and the perceived clinical readiness of students. The use of SPs has been thoroughly researched in other healthcare related fields. It is important that the same critical attention be given to their use in our own field, which emphasizes the importance of clinical readiness in the development of future professionals.

A survey was given to the OT students of Dominican University of California who have had experience with the curriculum, which utilizes SPs. Students were asked to rate their own perceptions of readiness in a number of skills, which were practiced using SPs. Students were also asked to answer qualitative questions regarding their experiences in the simulated environment with SPs.

Results indicated that four common themes emerged to the perceptions on the effectiveness of SPs. The use of SPs helped implement observational skills, bring classroom information to practical experience, identified the impact of secondary health conditions/comorbidity, and had effect on student performance due to anxiety. Further studies should be conducted to support this growing area of OT education.