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The COVID-19 pandemic had an emotional and physical impact on occupational therapy (OT) and occupational therapy assistant (OTA) students. Students lost access to campus services, social circles, and “safe zones," which may have consequently become traumatic stressors (U.S. Department of Education, 2021; Bridgland et al., 2021). As students transition back to campus, they struggle to navigate and adapt to in-person occupations and how they use their time. Occupational therapists understand the need for meaningful occupations and the symbiotic relationship between their well-being and health (American Occupational Therapy Association, 2020). OTs have an emerging role in the post-secondary education setting, which provides an opportunity to “fill a unique void” on college campuses to promote students’ wellness and health (Keptner & McCarthy, 2020). This capstone utilizes a mixed methods research study to understand how the pandemic affected OT students’ time-use and occupational engagement during the transition to in-person learning. Seventy-three students completed an online survey, which included qualitative and quantitative questions. Twelve participants participated in a follow-up time-use diary and interview. A majority of students reported that they learned effectively in-person and they made time to participate in satisfying occupations. Three themes emerged after the thematic analysis of the qualitative data: time compression, lessons from adapting, and autonomy and choice. The findings provide perspectives on OT students’ ability to adapt and manage their time during this transition.

Publication Date

Fall 12-8-2022


University of St. Augustine for Health Sciences


COVID-19 pandemic, occupational therapy students, occupational therapy assistant students, health professional students, in-person learning, virtual learning, occupational therapy program, higher education occupational therapy, post-secondary education

Medical Subject Headings

COVID-19 Pandemic Occupational Therapy Students


Higher Education | Occupational Therapy | Student Counseling and Personnel Services


Poster presented at the Virtual OTD Capstone Symposium, held online at the University of St. Augustine for Health Sciences December 8, 2022

Occupational Therapy Students’ Time-Use After Transitioning to In-Person Learning

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