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Issue Date: August 2016
Published Online: August 01, 2016
Updated: January 01, 2021
Evaluation of Level II Fieldwork Communication: A Longitudinal Study
Author Affiliations
  • University of Central Arkansas
  • University of Central Arkansas
Article Information
Education of OTs and OTAs / Basic Research
Poster Session   |   August 01, 2016
Evaluation of Level II Fieldwork Communication: A Longitudinal Study
American Journal of Occupational Therapy, August 2016, Vol. 70, 7011505124. https://doi.org/10.5014/ajot.2016.70S1-PO3011
American Journal of Occupational Therapy, August 2016, Vol. 70, 7011505124. https://doi.org/10.5014/ajot.2016.70S1-PO3011
Abstract

Date Presented 4/8/2016

Effective communication during Level II fieldwork is necessary to meet academic standards. A weekly tool was evaluated to determine efficiency and effectiveness between educators and students. Addressing difficult student behaviors was also explored.

Primary Author and Speaker: Elizabeth LeQuieu

Additional Author and Speaker: Brittany Saviers,

PURPOSE: This study evaluated the effectiveness and efficiency of a weekly review tool to ensure communication between fieldwork educators, Level II fieldwork students, and the academic fieldwork coordinator (AFWC).
Specific research questions include (1) Do educators and students perceive the tool as effective and/or efficient, (2) is an electronic version of the tool viewed as more efficient, and (3) is the communication tool viewed as more effective or efficient when used with a challenging student?
BACKGROUND: Fieldwork programs must identify innovative means to efficiently meet academic standards. The Accreditation Council for Occupational Therapy Education (ACOTE) requires that there be communication between the AFWC, educator, and student during Level II fieldwork (ACOTE, 2011). This study evaluated a one-page communication tool completed weekly by the student and educator. Information reported on the tool included strengths, weaknesses, goals met, new weekly goals, level of supervision required, and professional behavior.
DESIGN: This study utilized a longitudinal mixed-methods design.
PARTICIPANTS: Participants included 150 occupational therapy students from three cohorts and their fieldwork educators.
METHOD: This study used two surveys developed on the basis of the literature and previous experience of the researchers. Responses were given on a 5-point Likert scale (1 = strongly disagree to 5 = strongly agree). Also included were open-ended questions for suggestions. Students and educators completed an anonymous survey through Qualtrics after each Level II experience.
ANALYSIS: The researchers used descriptive methods to analyze the quantitative data. Specifically, means were calculated on all scaled questions. The data were evaluated for both the student and the educator group and then compared across groups. The qualitative sections of the surveys were coded, and frequencies were recorded. In addition, codes were combined into themes for each group and then compared across the groups. Intercoder agreement was used by the researchers to increase reliability.
RESULTS: Educators reported that the tool ensured the student was aware of progress (mean [M] = 4.53) and ensured the AFWC is aware of progress (M = 4.07). Students also recognized the tool increased communication about their progress (M = 4.65).
Themes emerged from educators regarding the tool being less effective on a weekly basis with students who were progressing well, but more effective for other students who were demonstrating problems during fieldwork. Themes from students emerged related to future adaptations to the tool, which would allow for additional student comments. Results of this study support the continued use of the weekly tool with slight revisions.
DISCUSSION: Practitioners make the professional commitment to serve as fieldwork educators. Aware of the need to uphold educational standards, AFWCs should attempt to do so without increasing demands on the fieldwork educators. This study indicates the weekly review tool to be an efficient and effective means of increasing communication among educators, students, and the AFWC while providing written documentation of student progress. Moreover, this study suggests the tool to be an efficient and effective means of communicating with a difficult student on Level II fieldwork.
IMPACT STATEMENT: The impact of these findings promote a means of finding the just-right balance between consistent communications to meet educational standards and streamlining the responsibilities of the fieldwork educator.
References
American Council for Occupational Therapy Education. (2011). Accreditation standards for a master's-degree-level educational program for the occupational therapist. Bethesda, MD: Author.