Date Presented 04/20/2023

The purpose of this study was to identify predictors of clinical experience success among OT and PT students. Findings can help identify students who may benefit from intervention before clinical experiences.

Primary Author and Speaker: Heidi Horwitz

Additional Authors and Speakers: Linda Struckmeyer

Contributing Authors: Kevin MacPherson, Jane Morgan-Daniel, Grace Gerry

Many occupational therapy and physical therapy students struggle to pass their clinical experience rotations. Little is known about what factors have been analyzed that predict students’ success on these clinical experiences. The purpose of this scoping review was to identify the predictors of clinical experience performance success in occupational therapy and physical therapy students. The literature search included seven databases and one hand-searched journal to identify related relevant studies. A research librarian guided the search process. Studies were included if they contained predictors of clinical experience success indicated by validated performance evaluation tools that were scored by clinical instructors. A multidisciplinary team reviewed the title, abstract, and full text for inclusion and thematic data synthesis to categorize findings. Twenty-four articles met the inclusion criteria. The majority of articles were of correlational design and included single institutions. Seventeen included occupational therapy and seven included physical therapy. Four categories of predictors of clinical experience success were identified: pre-admission variables, academic preparation, personality characteristics, and demographics. Each of the main categories included three to five subcategories. Findings from this review can help academic programs identify students who may benefit from intervention prior to going on clinical experiences. Additional multi-institutional experimental research is needed to investigate generalizability of predictors and causality across institutions and professions. The results of this study can inform curricular changes that help bridge the didactic to clinical practice learning gap within academic programs, create stronger education for clinical educators, and provide greater capacity for successful student clinical experiences.


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