Credentials Display

Natalie Hedge, BS, MOTS

Marsha Neville, PhD, OT

Noralyn Pickens, PhD, OT


Patient Educators are persons with specific pathologies that have participated in an education program in which they learn how to instruct students on physical examinations. The aim of this study was to explore the impact of graduate student experiences with Patient Educators during coursework on occupational therapy clinical internships. A phenomenological design was used to explore the lived experiences of students through a qualitative interview. As participants described their experiences with the Patient Educators, three primary themes emerged: (a) self-awareness, (b) confidence, and (c) empathy. The quotes from the transcriptions were organized into four sequential plot categories: (a) Before the Interaction, (b) During the Interaction, (c) Immediate Change, and (d) Impact on Clinical Internship. The results reveal a narrative of the learning process experienced by students from before the Patient Educators lab through clinical internships. These results suggest that incorporating Patient Educators in the classroom could be a critical component in preparing students for clinical internship and future clinical practice.