Document Type


Publication Date



This research provides evidence on occupational therapy (OT) students in primary care (PC). OT demonstrates the skills and knowledge to address chronic medical conditions in PC with entry-level education. Limited evidence of occupational therapists in PC demonstrates a need to examine OT services in this setting. In this emerging area of practice and ever-changing reimbursement models, additional evidence is needed to define the value and continuation of OT services in PC. A mixed-methods study aimed to answer the primary research question: How are OT students used in the PC setting in fieldwork or capstone experiences? A two-phase process was involved. A survey and interview enabled an in-depth exploration of how OT students are used in PC during fieldwork, experiential, and capstone experiences. The benefits identified were: providing holistic care because occupational therapists address social detriments and improvement of patient satisfaction with simple interventions. The top barriers were: limited number of occupational therapists and reimbursement for services. Common methods of student use in PC include: provide interventions, evaluate and screen for OT services, and report patient and provider satisfaction outcomes. Identification of these benefits, barriers, and methods of OT and OTA student use in PC can further advocate for the need of OT in PC while meeting ACOTE standards in education.

Publication Title

The Open Journal of Occupational Therapy