Featured Scholar

Sharon Pape, IUPUI Translational Scholar

Featured Scholar : Sharon Pape, MS, OTR

Senior Lecturer and Academic Fieldwork Coordinator
IU School of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences

Learning the difference between OT and PT

Historically, the delineation between practice roles in occupational therapy and physical therapy (OT and PT) has been a source of misperception. The confusion becomes readily evident in collaborative learning environments like the Indiana University Student Outreach Clinic (IUSOC)—a student-led, inter-professional, pro-bono clinic in Indianapolis. The value of inter-professional education (IPE) is evident in the literature. However, limited research exists on the impact of pro-bono clinical work on students’ understanding of professional roles. Sharon Pape’s research examines student perceptions about the differences and similarities between OT and PT. Her recent study determined students’ readiness to participate in IPE activities through student participation at IUSOC. Student board members in OT and PT, along with faculty advisors, developed a consensus document on OT and PT education and scope of practice, and a video highlighting roles and practices at the IUSOC. Within a month of entering the program, first year OT and PT students were asked to review the document and video. Pre- and post-survey data were collected to explore students’ knowledge of OT and PT professions. Initial outcomes demonstrated first-year OT and PT students had significantly improved knowledge of and comfort in discussing the differences in practices among the professions. The results support utilization of IPE approaches early in graduate health professional education to enhance students’ understanding of role delineation and collaborative practice. Pape’s work on using inter-professional settings to educate students’ understanding of health profession roles is another example of how IUPUI faculty are TRANSLATING RESEARCH INTO PRACTICE.


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