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Scand J Occup Ther. 2019 May;26(4):273-282. doi: 10.1080/11038128.2018.1496272. Epub 2018 Aug 19.

The association between undergraduate occupational therapy students' listening and interpersonal skills and performance on practice education placements.

Author information

1
a Department of Occupational Therapy, School of Primary and Allied Health Care, Faculty of Medicine, Nursing and Health Sciences , Monash University , Frankston , Australia.

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

Communication skills such as listening, empathy and body language are core competencies that entry level occupational therapy students must demonstrate when completing practice placements.

OBJECTIVE:

To investigate if interpersonal skills taught to undergraduate occupational therapy students predict their practice performance.

METHODS:

Second, third and fourth year occupational therapy students (n = 132) completed the Active-Empathetic Listening Scale (AELS); the Listening Styles Profile-Revised (LSP-R); and the Interpersonal Communication Competence Scale (ICCS). The Student Practice Evaluation Form-Revised (SPEF-R) measured students' performance at the completion of a placement. Regression analysis examined the relationships between students' interpersonal and listening skills and their fieldwork performance.

RESULTS:

Higher ICCS Interaction Management subscale scores were significantly associated with better SPEF-R Communication Skills at final evaluation (β = 1.46, p < 0.05). Higher AELS Sensing subscale scores were predictive of greater Self-Management Skill performance on the SPEF-R (β = 0.84, SE = 0.42). Student's demographic characteristics were also predictive of their SPEF-R scores. The ICCS and LSP-R's subscale scores were not predictive of SPEF-R scores.

CONCLUSION:

This preliminary evidence identified several interpersonal skills that were predictive of some key SPEF-R competencies. To better prepare students to successfully complete practice placements, these interpersonal skills should be incorporated into occupational therapy education curriculum.

KEYWORDS:

Students; communication; listening skills; practice education; professional competencies

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