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Lauren E. Stone Kelly, OTD, OTR/L


Background: The COVID-19 pandemic has had significant impacts on education. During this time, educators were tasked to develop creative and new ways to engage and teach students. Mentoring has been shown to positively impact academic and psychosocial outcomes and can enhance clinical skills in both in-person and e-learning environments. However, there is need for further research on peer mentoring programs in occupational therapy curriculum.

Method: This retrospective qualitative study investigates the effects of peer mentoring on student perceptions of learning and professional development. Experiences were tracked for three semesters during the pandemic at an accredited entry-level occupational therapy program in the US. The students answered two to three questions at the end of each semester; qualitative analysis followed.

Results: Twenty-six to 28 students consented each semester. Positive experiences, improved communication, and professional skills were reported. Most of the students felt peer mentoring enhanced learning, reduced stress, and fostered comradery. Collaborative partnership was preferred, and the students often asked for more structured faculty support.

Discussion: The results are consistent with current evidence and confirm use of mentoring in entry-level occupational therapy programs may be beneficial even in adapted learning environments. This study gives insight to learning during a global pandemic and provides guidance for post pandemic pedagogical design.


The authors declare that they have no competing financial, professional, or personal interest that might have influenced the performance or presentation of the work described in this manuscript.