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Effects of an experiential learning program on the clinical reasoning and critical thinking skills of occupational therapy students.

Authors
  • Coker, Patty
Type
Published Article
Journal
Journal of allied health
Publication Date
Jan 01, 2010
Volume
39
Issue
4
Pages
280–286
Identifiers
PMID: 21184024
Source
Medline
License
Unknown

Abstract

This study examined the effects of participation in a 1-week, experiential, hands-on learning program on the critical thinking and clinical reasoning skills of occupational therapy students. A quasi-experimental, nonrandomized pre- and post-test design was used with a sample of 25 students. The students had completed three semesters of didactic lecture coursework in a master's level OT educational program prior to participation in a hands-on therapy program for children with hemiplegic cerebral palsy. Changes in critical thinking and clinical reasoning skills were evaluated using the following dependent measures: Self-Assessment of Clinical Reflection and Reasoning (SACRR) and the California Critical Thinking Skills Test (CCTST). Changes in pretest and posttest scores on the SACRR and the CCTST were statistically significant (p>0.05) following completion of the experiential learning program. This study supports the use of hands-on learning to develop clinical reasoning and critical thinking skills in healthcare students, who face ever more diverse patient populations upon entry-level practice. Further qualitative and quantitative investigations are needed to support the results of this study and determine which components of experiential learning programs are essential for developing clinical reasoning and critical thinking skills in future allied health professionals.

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