An Online Training to Prepare Occupational Therapy Students to Work with Clients with Limited English Proficiency and Interpreters

Elizabeth A Harrison, Mansha Mirza
2018 Journal of Occupational Therapy Education  
Effective communication between occupational therapists (OTs) and their clients is key to quality, clientcentered services. Most OTs can expect to work with clients with Limited English Proficiency (LEP). Language barriers may negatively impact client safety and client satisfaction. Working with language interpreters is a key means for OTs to best serve clients with LEP; however, few OT curricula provide adequate training in working with interpreters. This paper presents a new, innovative
more » ... w, innovative online training for preparing OT students to work with clients with LEP and interpreters. The brief online training used informational slides, video role plays and written case studies to prepare OT students to provide and advocate for quality services for clients with LEP. The training was evaluated by 26 second year MSOT students at a large, urban university. Student learning was assessed with a pre-test/post-test questionnaire. Pre-test results indicated that while most students (86%) reported working with LEP clients on fieldwork, few (less than 27%) felt well prepared to do so. A majority (60%) of students were unaware or unsure of how to access interpreter services at their fieldwork site. Post-test results indicate that the training significantly improved student knowledge, skills and attitudes for working with LEP clients and interpreters. The implications for OT education, including the importance and feasibility of training entry-level OT students to work with interpreters, are discussed. Opportunities for increased emphasis on cultural competence and language access education within future entry-level OTD curricula are highlighted. ABSTRACT Effective communication between occupational therapists (OTs) and their clients is key to quality, client-centered services. Most OTs can expect to work with clients with Limited English Proficiency (LEP). Language barriers may negatively impact client safety and client satisfaction. Working with language interpreters is a key means for OTs to best serve clients with LEP; however, few OT curricula provide adequate training in working with interpreters. This paper presents a new, innovative online training for preparing OT students to work with clients with LEP and interpreters. The brief online training used informational slides, video role plays and written case studies to prepare OT students to provide and advocate for quality services for clients with LEP. The training was evaluated by 26 second year MSOT students at a large, urban university. Student learning was assessed with a pre-test/post-test questionnaire. Pre-test results indicated that while most students (86%) reported working with LEP clients on fieldwork, few (less than 27%) felt well prepared to do so. A majority (60%) of students were unaware or unsure of how to access interpreter services at their fieldwork site. Post-test results indicate that the training significantly improved student knowledge, skills and attitudes for working with LEP clients and interpreters. The implications for OT education, including the importance and feasibility of training entry-level OT students to work with interpreters, are discussed. Opportunities for increased emphasis on cultural competence and language access education within future entry-level OTD curricula are highlighted.
doi:10.26681/jote.2018.020309 fatcat:rf3hqnt32ngu3ppiztk2alyzgu