Degree Name

Master of Arts (Hons.)


Faculty of Education


A three part research method was employed to investigate occupational therapists experiences of and perceptions of working in teams. A review of literature was completed to determine what was already known about and could be postulated about occupational therapists' practice in health care teams. Semi structured interviews were conducted with therapists working in a variety of health care teams to explore their experiences in teams and to refine a list of potential continuing education topics related to working in teams. Their preferred delivery methods for each topic were also determined. The results of the interviews and the Uterature search informed the development of a questionnaire which was completed by just under 200 occupational therapists in clinical positions, working in health care teams in New South Wales, Australia. The major results of this study are: 1. A conceptual model of the factors affecting occupational therapists attitudes towards working in teams. The model includes therapists' attitudes towards their own power, their team work and political skills as well as their scores on a number of factors titled powerlessness, team valuing and instrumentality. 2. A model of the personal and professional skills influencing therapists' self rating of their role confidence. These are assertion skills, presentation skills for meetings, skills to maintain a professional identity in a team environment and to explain your role clearly. 3. An ordered set of potential learning needs in the area of team work practice which indicates the importance of specialised conmiunication and political skills over direct client related skills in this area. 4. Lastly a series of reconomendations are made for occupational therapy managers and educators, for team leaders and for occupational therapists working in teams. Content and structure for a continuing professional education course addressing team work practice is presented.