Project Title

HealthCare Students-Grounded Theory

Name of Award

Carol Easley Denny Award

Date Awarded

Summer 6-1-2016


Occupational Science/Occupational Therapy

Project Description

Brenda Frie, Assistant Professor in the Occupational Therapy Department, was awarded a $7,500 Carol Easley Denny Award to explore how healthcare students make decisions to participate in an honors program using a grounded theory approach. Upon review of the literature, there is no prior research exploring how a healthcare student decides to or not to participate in honors programming. Although there are assumptions that their decisions are influenced by the high credit requirement, structured course format and timing of internship placements within healthcare programs.

Historically, honors programs were designed to enrich the core of liberal arts courses. In recent years, the programs have flexed to meet the changing face of higher education by offering contrast and point based formats focused on discipline or mission-based themes such as service, leadership, or research.

While discipline-based healthcare honors programs exists, none simulate clinical practice through requiring significant across discipline team educational experiences. Exploration of the student decision-making process influencing whether or not to participate in honors is important to address the problem of low numbers of healthcare students in honors programs at St. Catherine University.

Utilizing a grounded theory approach, this study seeks to capture the voice of healthcare students eligible for, or interested in participating in an IPE honors program. The purpose of this study is to generate a substantive theory of how healthcare students decide to participate in honors to inform the development of an IPE honors program.

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