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Debra Gibbs, EdD, MHS, OTR/L,CAPS, FAOTA; Mary S. Dietrich, PhD; Emmy Dagnan, OTD, OTR/L, CLAT, CPAM


Background: As the demand for occupational and physical therapists in acute care settings is increasing, students are reporting a need for increased educational preparation to handle the complexities they may face in this setting. This pretest/posttest study examines the impact of an inter-professional high fidelity simulation experience on perceived levels of knowledge, comfort, and confidence among occupational therapy doctorate students when handling an acutely ill patient in an ICU setting.

Methods: Two cohorts of occupational therapy students participated in an inter-professional acute care scenario with high fidelity simulation mannequins (Cohort 1, n = 19; Cohort 2, n = 27). Before and after the simulation, the students rated their perceived level of knowledge, comfort, and confidence with handling acutely ill patients.

Results: A two-tailed Wilcoxin Signed-Ranks indicated that posttest ranks were statistically significantly higher than pretest ranks with α = .05 indicating improvement in students’ perceived levels of knowledge, comfort, and confidence after participating in an acute care simulation.

Conclusion: High fidelity simulation can positively impact students’ perceptions of their knowledge, comfort, and confidence in handling acutely ill patients.