The University of Findlay’s Master and Doctor of Occupational Therapy programs follow standards for education established by the Accreditation Council for Occupational Therapy Education (ACOTE). Listed below is the fieldwork section of the STANDARDS which refer specifically to fieldwork. As you will see there are several standards that require increased communication between the fieldwork site and the educational program. As the Academic Fieldwork Coordinator, Heather Coalt, OTD, MOT, OTR/L is responsible for maintaining compliance with the below stated STANDARDS.
C.1.0 Fieldwork Education
Fieldwork education is a crucial part of professional preparation and is best integrated as a component of the curriculum design. The fieldwork experience is designed to promote clinical reasoning and reflective practice, transmit the values and beliefs that enable ethical practice, and develop professionalism and competence in career responsibilities. Fieldwork experiences should be implemented and evaluated for their effectiveness by the educational institution. The experience should provide the student with the opportunity to carry out professional responsibilities under the supervision of qualified personnel serving as a role model. The academic fieldwork coordinator is responsible for the program's compliance with fieldwork education requirements. The academic fieldwork coordinator will:
Ensure that the fieldwork program reflects the sequence and scope of content in the curriculum design, in collaboration with faculty, so that fieldwork experiences in traditional, nontraditional, and emerging settings strengthen the ties between didactic and fieldwork education.
Document the criteria and process for selecting fieldwork sites, to include maintaining memoranda of understanding, complying with all site requirements, maintaining site objectives and site data, and communicating this information to students prior to the start of the fieldwork experience.
Document that academic and fieldwork educators agree on established fieldwork objectives prior to the start of the fieldwork experience, and communicate with the student and fieldwork educator about progress and performance throughout the fieldwork experience. Ensure that fieldwork objectives for all experiences include a psychosocial objective.
Ensure that the ratio of fieldwork educators to students enables proper supervision, and provides protection of consumers, opportunities for appropriate role modeling of occupational therapy practice, and the ability to provide frequent assessment of student progress in achieving stated fieldwork objectives.
Ensure that fieldwork agreements are sufficient in scope and number to allow completion of graduation requirements in a timely manner, in accordance with the policy adopted by the program as required by Standard A.4.7.
The program must have evidence of valid memoranda of understanding in effect and signed by both parties from the onset to conclusion of the Level I fieldwork and the Level II fieldwork if it involves an entity outside of the academic program. (Electronic memoranda of understanding and signatures are acceptable.) Responsibilities of the sponsoring institution(s) and each fieldwork site must be clearly documented in the memorandum of understanding.
At least one fieldwork experience (either Level I or Level II) must address practice in behavioral health, or psychological and social factors influencing engagement in occupation.
Ensure that personnel who supervise Level I fieldwork are informed of the curriculum and fieldwork program design and affirm their ability to support the fieldwork experience. This must occur prior to the onset of the Level I fieldwork. Examples include, but are not limited to, currently licensed or otherwise regulated occupational therapists and occupational therapy assistants, psychologists, physician assistants, teachers, social workers, physicians, speech language pathologists, nurses, and physical therapists.
Document that Level I fieldwork is provided to students and is not substituted for any part of the Level II fieldwork. Ensure that Level I fieldwork enriches didactic coursework through directed observation and participation in selected aspects of the occupational therapy process, and includes mechanisms for formal evaluation of student performance.
The program must have clearly documented student learning objectives expected of the Level I fieldwork.
Level I fieldwork may be met through one or more of the following instructional methods:
- Simulated environments
- Standardized patients
- Faculty practice
- Faculty-led site visits
- Supervision by a fieldwork educator in a practice environment
All Level I fieldwork must be comparable in rigor.
Goal of Level II Fieldwork
The goal of Level II fieldwork is to develop competent, entry-level, generalist occupational therapists. Level II fieldwork must be integral to the program's curriculum design and must include an in-depth experience in delivering occupational therapy services to clients, focusing on the application of purposeful and meaningful occupation and research, administration, and management of occupational therapy services. It is recommended that the student be exposed to a variety of clients across the lifespan and to a variety of settings. The program will:
Require a minimum of 24 weeks' full-time Level II fieldwork. This may be completed on a part-time basis, as defined by the fieldwork placement in accordance with the fieldwork placement's usual and customary personnel policies, as long as it is at least 50% of an FTE at that site. The student can complete Level II fieldwork in a minimum of one setting if it is reflective of more than one practice area, or in a maximum of four different settings.
Document and verify that the student is supervised by a currently licensed or otherwise regulated occupational therapist who has a minimum of 1 year full-time (or its equivalent) of practice experience as a licensed or otherwise regulated occupational therapist prior to the onset of the Level II fieldwork. Ensure that the student supervisor is adequately prepared to serve as a fieldwork educator prior to the Level II fieldwork. The supervising therapist may be engaged by the fieldwork site or by the educational program.
Document a mechanism for evaluating the effectiveness of supervision (e.g., student evaluation of fieldwork) and for providing resources for enhancing supervision (e.g., materials on supervisory skills, continuing education opportunities, articles on theory and practice).
Ensure that Level II fieldwork supervision is direct and then decreases to less direct supervision as appropriate for the setting, the severity of the client's condition, and the ability of the student to support progression toward entry-level competence.
Document and verify that supervision provided in a setting where no occupational therapy services exist includes a documented plan for provision of occupational therapy services and supervision by a currently licensed or otherwise regulated occupational therapist with at least 3 years' full-time or its equivalent of professional experience prior to the Level II fieldwork. Supervision must include a minimum of 8 hours of direct supervision each week of the fieldwork experience. An occupational therapy supervisor must be available, via a variety of contact measures, to the student during all working hours. An on-site supervisor designee of another profession must be assigned while the occupational therapy supervisor is off site.
Document mechanisms for requiring formal evaluation of student performance on Level II fieldwork (e.g., the AOTA Fieldwork Performance Evaluation for the Occupational Therapy Student or equivalent).
Document and verify that students attending Level II fieldwork outside the United States are supervised by an occupational therapist who graduated from a program approved by the World Federation of Occupational Therapists and has at least 1 year of experience in practice prior to the onset of Level II fieldwork.