Professional development has become a mandatory aspect of every service industry owing to the gradual changes in the global economy, the transformation of lifestyles and the frequently changing demographics of the global population. Employment in various industries is no longer subject to a distinct set of qualifications and reflects on the necessity of continuous improvement of skills required for addressing the changing requirements of organizations. From the perspective of a student, the professional development plan facilitates a clear impression of the strengths and weaknesses of an individual thereby helping them in identifying the prospects for future employment (Aaron, Smith & Atler PhD, 2017).
It can also be identified that the impact of professional development is also responsible for influencing the approaches followed by the students for service delivery in professional circles. Experience-based learning is the keyword for the majority of service industries such as food and beverage and healthcare services where employees are encouraged to involve in a career-long learning process thereby ensuring that their knowledge is up-to-date with the present trends in the industry. The following essay is aimed at providing a critical reflection on the personal development of a student during an academic course in occupational therapy as well as the service delivery implications of the student (Aja, Cole & Warning, 2016).
The critical reflection on personal development and service delivery for the case of a student would be presented using Gibb’s reflective cycle which comprises six distinct stages such as description, feelings, evaluation, analysis, and conclusion and action plan (Kcl.ac.UK, 2018). The outcomes of Gibb’s reflective cycle would primarily comprise description statements of the concerned issue, value statements, summation statements and analytical inferences. The model was formulated by Professor Graham Gibbs in 1988 and the individual stages help in breaking down a problem step by step. First of all, the description involves an illustration of the experience (Bushby, et al., 2015).
The next step is associated with feelings and is generally considered descriptive focusing on the personal thoughts, actions and perceptions regarding the experience before, during and after the experience. The third stage in the cycle deals with an evaluation that is related to identifying the positive and negative aspects of the experience without delving into an analytical review (Aaron, Smith & Atler,2017). The fourth component is associated with analysis in which the causes and consequences of the incidents during the experience as well as personal influence on the experience are outlined. The next stage refers to a conclusion in which the specific inferences from the experience have to be presented without generalization. In the final stage, an action plan has to be presented to address the setbacks identified from the reflection and should include justification and appropriate methods for the proposed actions.
The personal development would be reviewed using Gibb’s reflective cycle as follows,
The most common experience that has been a part of the student’s three-year course in Occupational Therapy is the lack of ability to identify and critically evaluation of relevant articles and public speaking. As per Carroll, et al (2017), the prominence of these themes in the student’s personal development experience could be identified from the professional development portfolio of the student (Carroll, et al., 2017).
The student has depicted considerable limitations regarding finding relevant articles for study and presenting reviews in group sessions at the workplace. The apprehensions of the student about public speaking have also been noted as an experience in the personal development schedule of the student throughout their study in the three-year course (Carroll et al., 2017).
It can be observed that before undertaking the course the student had considerable difficulties in opening up to peers owing to social anxiety that led to a lapse of abilities to speak freely in public. According to Clarke, et al (2016), n terms of abilities to identify relevant articles and scholarly materials for study, the student experienced setbacks in recognizing the themes followed in various articles and research publications (Clarke, et al., 2016).
During the course, the student faced apprehensions in communicating with peers albeit with a certain level of improvement in terms of increased participation in group discussions. On the other hand, the student continued to face setbacks with searching online databases for finding relevant journals and articles about occupational therapy. From a personal perspective, it can be stated that the personal development of the student was not suited to the optimal results needed for employment in occupational therapy. For example, the lack of communication is accountable for notable lapses in service delivery in occupational therapy (Aaron, Smith & Atler,2017).
The positive aspects that were identified during the experience had a primary relationship with the personal development objective of the student to improve skills for identifying and using relevant course study material as well as articles and research journals. As per Cogan (2017), the participation of the student in workshops conducted by the institution enabled them acquaintance with key search terms in the context of occupational therapy (Cogan, 2017).
This initiative was complemented by the search for articles concerning the assignments for the students in the coursework. Therefore the student was able to improve their skills for selecting relevant research material at the end of the personal development experience which implies completion of the experience. On the contrary, it is also essential to reflect on the negative aspects observed during the experience of personal development (Dionne & Lenker, 2017). The student did not have substantial capabilities and confidence to speak at instances such as team presentations and did not implement relevant measures for improving public speaking exercises. While the student was comfortable with speaking in groups and teams to peers, the experience remained unresolved due to the fright of the student for speaking to a crowd from a stage.
In the analysis stage of critical reflection, it is essential to focus on the causes and consequences of the positive and negative outcomes of personal development. First of all, the positive outcome of the personal development plan would have to be considered which can be identified in the development of skills for identification, assessment and selection of appropriate research material. The causes of action were prominently identified in the workshops conducted for improving research material comprehension of occupational therapy students (Dionne & Lenker, 2017).
The workshops were primarily characterized by the provision of relevant keywords for occupational therapy to the students in the workshop that helped the students in narrowing down their search in the context of the relevant activities e.g. safety risks in service delivery. The trainers in the workshops also took special measures for informing students about the various online sources of academic databases that can be utilized for research (Fisher, 2014). The consequences of this action could be identified profoundly in the long-term prospects in the field of employment for the student. The consequences for the student would be identified in flexibility for preparing training materials as supervisors in future job roles, improved awareness of the service approaches and limitations over errors in ascertaining relevant details from the medical history of service users in occupational therapy (Kcl.ac.UK, 2018). The ability to identify and assessment of relevant documentation could also contribute to the interviewing skills of the student in the long term thereby facilitating credible professional opportunities in health and social care. It is interesting to observe that this particular outcome could be leveraged by the student in varying professional roles in occupational therapy (Hoffman, et al., 2014).
The skills for evaluation of research material could also help a student in addressing specific unprecedented scenarios in the workplace by referring to research that deals specifically with the concerned issue. The positive outcomes could have been improved further with the prospects for participating in regional journal clubs that would have required reading for preparation. This initiative could assist in prolific acquaintance with occupational theory terminology that can contribute to the improvement of flexibility in searching relevant research material (Aaron, Smith & Atler,2017).
On the contrary, it can also be observed that the student had to encounter a negative experience in terms of developing public speaking skills. The causes of the action were primarily recognized in the limited participation of the student in group learning activities and profound levels of social anxiety. Despite having promising interaction with other students in group activities, the student was unable to develop competencies for public speaking. Another prominent reason that can be accounted for in this case would be reflective of the inefficiency of the student in planning the material that has to be communicated in a public presentation (Kern, et al., 2016).
The excessive focus on fear and previous experiences of failure in public speaking prevented the student from undertaking initiatives to learn the dynamics of public speaking and adapting to them based on personal strengths. The consequences of this action could be far-fetched from the perspective of professional opportunities as employment opportunities in the occupational therapy sector are flexible for individuals with public communication skills. Furthermore, the service standards also specify the requirement of public speaking as a mandatory competence for occupational therapy which is required in specific professional scenarios. The lack of skills for public speaking could also imply the inability of the student to express their opinions to the senior management or team in various meetings and brainstorming sessions. This could lead to minimal engagement with service operations and decision-making processes that are accounted as prominent factors for burnout (Leland, et al., 2015). The possible initiatives that could have been taken to avoid the negative consequences of insufficiency in public communication skills imply the identification of personal strengths and weaknesses in communicating with a group of people as well as employing measures to inhibit apprehensions of public speaking.
An understanding of the medical implications of troubles in public speaking such as increased heart rate, sweating and nervousness could help develop practices that would assist in controlling these factors thereby leading to distinct improvement in the comfort level of students for public speaking. Practising with a group of friends and obtaining feedback could be implemented regularly to recognize additional areas of weakness (Niemiec, Halle & Sarkisian, 2016).
In conclusion in a reflection on the personal development outcomes in occupational therapy, it is imperative to highlight the different approaches that could have been implemented in the process, obstacles, positive and negative inferences about self and existing level of learning and practice. The student could have opted for coping strategies that can have enabled the student to refrain from the stress levels that depreciated the confidence of the student in public speaking scenarios. Another element that could have been practised by the student for enhancing public communication was attendance at seminars and conferences for observing the public speakers to observe their mannerisms and dynamics.
From a different perspective, the involvement in practice sessions with friends and peers for public speaking would have been productive for the student. The prominent barriers which were identified in the context of the suggested improvement measures were a lack of awareness regarding coping strategies, pressure from academics and limited preparation. The reflection also involved the identification of positive and negative aspects of the student.
While it can be inferred that the student has a keen interest in improving personal competencies as a positive factor, their lack of awareness regarding terms in occupational therapy and personal apprehensions due to social anxiety lead to profoundly negative implications in the student’s behaviour. An impression about the personal levels of expertise in the profession and service delivery could be taken into account in the conclusion of this reflective practice. It was observed that it is difficult for the student to maintain physical and mental fitness standards during academic studies and lacks competencies in planning and arrangement of information. Furthermore, the assessment required for the planning process is also subject to insufficiencies and dependence on superficial learning that imply potential pitfalls for the student’s employment prospects.
On the other hand, the level of expertise of the student was aptly supported by strengths such as a keen interest in learning despite physical and psychological barriers alongside maintaining composure during the execution of practical work as well as flexible interpretation of instructions provided.
The action plan for the personal development experience of the student was associated with the identification of specific areas for development as well as identifying the priorities of development requisites. Therefore, the student would have to focus on the improvement of their public speaking skills in the action plan.
The priority areas that need to be developed are coping strategies and conceptual awareness regarding occupational therapy. The specific steps that can be taken to accomplish improvements in these areas include studying books and articles related to coping strategies that are successfully implemented in the cases of individuals experiencing stress and social anxiety and frequent participation in group discussion activities (Pendleton & Schultz-Krohn, 2017).
Participation in the local journal club would also help the student in improving their conceptual awareness regarding terms involved in occupational therapy thereby addressing their apprehensions about public speaking due to lack of material to speak as observed in the present case of the student. Therefore, the action plan could be profoundly associated with the value proposition of improving prospects for future employment alongside increasing capabilities for communicating in the sector of occupational therapy with a workforce comprising diverse individuals and service users.
The critical reflection on the service delivery improvement approaches followed by the student could be presented by using Gibb’s reflective cycle as follows.
The service improvement experience for the student has been associated with the development of awareness regarding occupational therapy services in the context of community and health teams, expansion of knowledge and competencies required for service delivery in rural and remote locations and development of knowledge regarding the care of aged individuals (Rahja & Jolliffe, 2018). These distinct factors were identified as prominent themes in the service improvement project undertaken by the student and the majority of learning was invested in these aspects of service improvement.
From a critical perspective, the feelings regarding the experience suggest favourable implications for long-term improvement in the delivery of services. Before the service improvisation project, the student had limited awareness of conceptual aspects related to occupational therapy, especially in terms of community healthcare as well as insufficiencies in understanding the practices for the healthcare of aged people. It could also be observed that the student was also experiencing a lack of information and skills needed to facilitate diversity in the practices of healthcare in rural and remote settings (Schaaf, et al., 2018).
During the experience, the student was able to interact with formal and informal learning activities such as online learning, opportunity visits of specialists, and attending meetings with community service teams such as Rotary group and online forums. The reaction of the student to the activities can be observed explicitly in the improvement of capabilities of the student to deliver a wide range of occupational therapy services to older service users as well as a clear understanding of the diversity in healthcare practices for rural and remote communities (Schultz-Krohn & Pendleton, 2017).
During the experience, the student found certain positive and negative outcomes that were relevant to the experience. Participation in meetings with the rotary group could be accounted for as a positive experience alongside participation in an online CBT program as well as the opportunity to visit a specialist.
On the contrary, the aspects of the experience which did not work out well for the student could be identified clearly in the limited participation in rural and community health awareness programs as well as the lack of review of the community health prevention programs (Seckinger, et al., 2018). Therefore, while the student was able to improvise capabilities for service delivery for older people the experience remained unresolved as the issue of addressing the diverse healthcare practices in rural as well as community settings existed at the end of the improvement project.
The promising outcomes derived from the service delivery improvement for the student as well as the negative experiences should be accounted for in the analysis with the depiction of the causes and results of the specific actions. On the positive side, the student was able to participate in meetings with specialists and rotary group members which led to an improvement in the awareness of the student regarding occupational therapy services for older patients. The interaction with online CBT programs could also be identified as a probable cause of the improvement in the capabilities of the student (Sokolow, 2015).
The reflection also suggests that the intervention of a specialist also strengthened the inferential outcomes derived from CBT training. The causes of action for this particular aspect could also be identified in the motivation of the student to expand their knowledge base regarding occupational therapy practices for diverse service users with different characteristics from general service users such as old people and remote and rural communities.
The consequences of the action could be identified in the possibilities of improved employment prospects especially in the domain of occupational therapy for older patients (Sturkenboom, et al., 2014). Since the care of older patients is a demanding job role with various responsibilities, the prospects for higher remuneration as well as a diverse professional portfolio for the student cannot be undermined. Furthermore, the interaction with specialists during the service delivery improvement project would enable the student to communicate flexibly with practitioners and other healthcare service providers such as nurses to identify the suitable course of therapy thereby leading to improved professional performance (Taylor, 2017).
This factor could lead to higher levels of efficiency of service delivery for the student that would contribute to access to favourable employment prospects in occupational therapy. The improved awareness of the student regarding occupational theory terminology in varying contexts such as community, rural, remote settings and for older people would imply the possibilities of administrative and leadership roles for the student in future employment.
The negative aspects of the service delivery improvement experience were identified in the lack of improving competencies for occupational therapy practice in rural and community settings. The primary cause of action was the lack of participation in community health prevention awareness programs which led to prominent setbacks in obtaining inferences for discussion with mentors and integrating the conclusions into practice. Another prominent cause of action could be inferred from the limited correspondence with community health workers that led to insufficient awareness regarding the social norms and their impact on the dietary and health preferences of the community members (Tomchek, et al., 2017).
It has been identified that social status and economic stability are major detriments to the provision of medical services to people in rural and remote communities which requires a holistic approach to occupational therapy based on social and economic determinants of health. The student was also negligent towards the review of community health prevention programs that could have provided insights into the execution of community programs without participation. The negative consequences of the experience could be profoundly identified on the grounds of the limited capability of the student to recognize and collate the health findings from rural and remote communities thereby leading to professional inefficiency.
As per Wales, et al.(2018), the student would not be aware of resource allocation in the delivery of occupational therapy practices thereby leading to insufficiencies in the overall quality of service delivery (Wales, et al., 2018). The other negative outcomes include limitations over targeted referrals and the capability for implementing occupational therapy expertise in community health practices within a selected region. The most foremost consequence that would result from this action in service delivery improvement would be identified in the lack of competence of the student across different areas of occupational therapy practice such as supervisor consultation and assessment in rural and remote community settings. These negative outcomes could have been addressed by reflecting on social and economic determinants of health in various rural and remote communities e.g. the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander People. Other plausible measures include collaboration with community health workers to have a deeper understanding of diversity in health practices and prevention strategies in the communities which could also be responsible for improving targeted referrals (Williamson, 2017).
In conclusion, it can be inferred that the student could have implemented proactive measures to involve the social communities as well as people in rural and remote areas to incorporate changes in their service delivery approach. On the contrary, the student emphasized particularly conceptual impressions regarding occupational therapy for rural and remote community settings that led to the lack of diversity in practices.
During the experience, the student was able to reflect on their personal positive and negative aspects which include a positive attitude toward learning and continuous improvement while the negative aspects were identified in the minimal motivation for practical method-based learning. The student’s current knowledge and level of practice are associated with promising strengths of comprehensive awareness regarding occupational therapy practices for elderly people. The student was also able to learn the implications of weaknesses such as participation in practical visits to communities and rural areas for the development of a ground impression of the service delivery environment. The experience was able to help me in accomplishing my learning goals of improving competence for service delivery in diverse work settings and ensuring sustainable development and expansion of knowledge and skills for community health team management.
The action plan for service delivery improvement would include prominent references to the specific objectives of increasing participation in community health prevention and awareness programs, improving contacts with local community health workers and developing leadership-based roles among community members to ease the facility of service delivery in rural and remote community settings (Wong, et al., 2017).
The critical reflection on the personal development and service delivery improvement schedule followed by the student in a course of occupational therapy essentially focused on the necessity of personal attributes as well as the effectiveness of service delivery for sustaining professional practice in the healthcare industry. The reflection over two aspects was executed through the use of Gibb’s reflective cycle that provided a precise delineation of the activities undertaken for personal development and service delivery, especially in terms of identifying the specific themes in the two aspects that would contribute to the professional practice of students. It is also inevitable to understand the implications of improvement plans and contingency measures that can be applied to enhancing the positive outcomes alongside addressing the negative implications derived from the development projects. Therefore, in conclusion, it can be suggested that identifying the underlying aspects of objectives, measures and outcomes of professional practice could be realized effectively through the critical reflection presented in this case.
The discussion on the topic has provided substantial benefits, especially in terms of focusing on areas of weaknesses such as lack of coping strategies, limited social interaction, lack of practical implementation of concepts and inappropriate planning which could be incorporated into the continuous professional development schedule. This initiative could be assumed as a viable approach for CPD exercise as it helps in establishing goals based on weaknesses and objectives for future professional development. Another crucial aspect to be noted in this reflection task is the focus on the contribution of personal development and service delivery improvement to professional practice based on personal competencies as well as adaptability to contemporary service delivery precedents.
The objectives for professional development could be outlined in the action plan based on inferences drawn from the critical reflection presented above. The objectives have to be aligned with personal development and service delivery aspects of professional practice (Yu, Brown & Farnworth, 2017). In terms of personal development, the objective would be to improve public speaking skills while concerning service delivery the objective would be aligned with developing and maintaining knowledge and skills for the delivery of diverse occupational therapy practices in rural and remote community settings. These objectives can be delineated as follows using the SMART goal-setting framework.
Specific: To improve public speaking skills for group presentations, meetings and seminars.
Measurable: The feedback from mentors and peers as well as attendees at meetings could be used to monitor the progress of students.
Achievable: Public speaking has been a common issue for many famous orators in history as well as the present times. Therefore, keen interest and dedication to improvement could help in accomplishing the objective.
Realistic: The acquisition of public communication skills would be liable to improvise the chances for employment thereby implying that this objective is required imperatively on a realistic basis.
Time-bound: The deadline for this objective could be identified as one year albeit with the prospects for improvement over the long term.
Specific: To increase competencies in the provision of occupational therapy to rural and remote communities.
Measurable: Patient feedback and monitoring of health statistics could be used as metrics for identifying the progress of the student.
Achievable: The objective could be attained since community health programs could be executed with the help of community health workers that would be complemented by the support of the need for healthcare services in rural and remote areas.
Realistic: The objective can be termed as realistic since it focuses on the welfare of the rural and remote communities which can be identified in the overall scope of professional practice in occupational therapy.
Time-bound: The deadline for the objective is identified as 6 months.
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Personal development portfolio
|Planning and documentation|
|Practical implementation of concepts|