Sarah Gat, Navah Z. Ratzon; Comparison of Occupational Therapy Students’ Perceived Skills After Traditional and Nontraditional Fieldwork. Am J Occup Ther 2014;68(2):e47–e54. https://doi.org/10.5014/ajot.2014.007732
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We studied students’ perceptions regarding their professional and personal skills and compared the findings for those who completed community fieldwork (CF) with those completing traditional fieldwork (TF). We also compared the perceptions of CF students whose placement settings had an active occupational therapist present versus those whose settings did not. Results showed no significant differences in perceptions of professional and personal skills between the students involved in CF and those involved in TF. However, students who completed CF in a setting without an active occupational therapist present scored significantly higher in their perception of their personal responsibility, cultural competence, and overall personal skills than students whose fieldwork location had an active occupational therapist present. Our study indicates the value of using various supervisory strategies for occupational therapy students during fieldwork. Further studies are warranted.
CF and TF result in similar student perceptions regarding their personal and professional skills.
Students who complete CF in a setting that does not have an active occupational therapist on site but who do have access to outside supervision may experience higher perceptions of their personal skills, including personal responsibility and cultural competence, compared with students who complete CF in a setting with an active occupational therapist on site.
Effective strategies are available for supervising occupational therapy fieldwork students in settings where no occupational therapist is available on site.
CF settings expand students’ learning opportunities and contribute to their professional and personal growth.
Further studies comparing different kinds of fieldwork from the student’s point of view are warranted.
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