BACKGROUND/AIM: Simulated learning experiences are increasingly being used in health-care education to enhance student engagement and provide experiences that reflect clinical practice; however, simulation has not been widely investigated in occupational therapy curricula. The aim of this paper was to: (i) describe the existing research about the use and evaluation of simulation over the last three decades in occupational therapy curricula and (ii) consider how simulation has been used to develop competence in students.
METHODS: A literature review was undertaken with searches of MEDLINE, CINAHL and ERIC to locate articles that described or evaluated the use of simulation in occupational therapy curricula.
RESULTS/FINDINGS: Fifty-seven papers were identified. Occupational therapy educators have used the full scope of simulation modalities, including written case studies (22), standardised patients (13), video case studies (15), computer-based and virtual reality cases (7), role-play (8) and mannequins and part-task trainers (4). Ten studies used combinations of these modalities and two papers compared modalities. Most papers described the use of simulation for foundational courses, as for preparation for fieldwork, and to address competencies necessary for newly graduating therapists. The majority of studies were descriptive, used pre-post design, or were student's perceptions of the value of simulation.
CONCLUSION: Simulation-based education has been used for a wide range of purposes in occupational therapy curricula and appears to be well received. Randomised controlled trials are needed to more accurately understand the effects of simulation not just for occupational therapy students but for longer term outcomes in clinical practice.