South African nursing students' awareness and knowledge of the occupational therapy profession.

Thuli Mthembu, Nokuthula Gloria Nkosi-Mafutha, Julia Theira Maunye


Background: Interprofessional education is a growing field of knowledge that promotes collaborative competencies
among healthcare professionals within a South African context. Occupational therapists and nurses work together to
enhance patient care. However, little is known about nursing students’ awareness of occupational therapy.
Aim: The study assessed the level of awareness and general knowledge of nursing students regarding the occupational
therapy profession as part of interprofessional collaborative practice.
Methods: A quantitative, descriptive cross-sectional survey design was conducted using a paper-based self-administered
questionnaire with nursing students recruited from the Western Cape, Gauteng, and Mpumalanga provinces. The Statistical
Package Social Sciences was used for quantitative analysis and content analysis was used for the qualitative comments.
Results: A response rate of 90.60% (n=299) was achieved. Of the respondents, 87.5% (n=262) were aware of occupational
therapy, while more than half 57.5% (n=172) indicated that they know an occupational therapist. The findings showed that
interprofessional education provided the respondents with opportunities to learn and collaborate with other students.
Two-thirds of the respondents, 66.9% (n=200) indicated that they never engaged in an interprofessional module during
their training.
Conclusion: Nursing students who had been exposed to interprofessional education had substantial general knowledge
that occupational therapists collaborate with other professionals to improve the quality of life using activities as part of
the interventions.

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ISSN 0038-2337 (print), ISSN 2310-3833 (online)

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