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Year : 2022  |  Volume : 54  |  Issue : 1  |  Page : 14-18

Effect of the coronavirus disease 2019 pandemic on academics of students pursuing masters of occupational therapy in Maharashtra state: An observational cross sectional study

1 Department of Occupational Therapy, Seth G. S. Medical College and KEM Hospital, Mumbai, Maharashtra, India
2 Department of Occupational Therapy, Seth GSMC, Mumbai, Maharashtra, India

Correspondence Address:
Henna Vijaypal Khanna
M5 Palm Acres, C Wing, 404 Pratiksha Nagar, Sion, Mumbai, Maharashtra
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/ijoth.ijoth_65_21

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Background: Masters in occupational therapy (OT) is a 3-year course offered by the Maharashtra University of Health Sciences. Maharashtra was one of the worst affected states by the pandemic in 2020 and thus its impact on academics might show greater ill effects. This study was conducted with an objective to understand the health-care students' perspective of how the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic affected their present academic and clinical reasoning skills and what they think about their future career in OT. The literature also suggests that health-care students experienced stress during the COVID-19 pandemic, but hardly any study was conducted on OT students. Hence, this study was conducted to identify the students' perspectives on perceived stress and academics due to the pandemic situation. Objectives: The objective of this study is to understand students' perspective on academics and clinical reasoning skills and future career implications, and their stress levels. To understand how teaching/academics can or has bettered/improved during such time. Study Design: An observational cross-sectional study design was chosen for the research. Methods: The study protocol was approved by the Institutional Ethics Committee. A validated semi-structured questionnaire was circulated through Google Forms to all 56 2nd-and 3rd-year students pursuing Master of OT in Maharashtra. The form consisted of 17 questions. Questions were based on how the pandemic affected their academics and the major academic and clinical concerns that the students faced during this period. Student's written and informed consent was attached to the online questionnaire. In addition to this, students were asked to respond to the Perceived Stress Scale to understand their stress levels. Results: The pandemic had an impact on clinical assignment in all 29 (100%) students. Not having enough opportunity to explore their clinical posting during the pandemic was experienced by all 29 (100%) students. The students found a gap in transforming theory into the clinical assignments. Having additional time for academics was stated by 14 (48.2%) students. Severe stress was perceived by 5 (17.2%) students and moderate stress was perceived by 24 (82.7%) students. Conclusion: The study concluded that all students had an effect on their clinical assignments, which may be due to reduced footfall of patients among the first wave of COVID-19 pandemic. Students claimed to have additional time for academics due to reduced patient load.

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