The American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA) defines fieldwork as practice based learning experiences that develop the students’ integration of classroom knowledge and laboratory skills. The profession uses the term fieldwork instead of internships or clinical rotations as the (OT) profession provides service in diverse sites outside of traditional hospital or medical model settings. OTs provide intervention services or practice in various community settings, rehabilitation centers, out-patient settings, school systems, private practice, long term care centers, in work and industrial settings, and in private homes.
Fieldwork experiences are designed to encompass a range of OT services. These experiences allow the student to try out concepts learned in the classroom or the laboratory. Each fieldwork experience is designed to progressively build on previous skills and knowledge. Augusta University (AU) OT curriculum design provides fieldwork experiences during each semester of the Master of Health Science (MHS) in OT program. The AU OT’s curriculum design and learning activities include supportive experiential learning experiences that progress the students’ level of knowledge, skills, and values for entry level competence.
The Accreditation Council for Occupational Therapy Education (ACOTE, 2006) specifies fieldwork requirements for all students. The requirements are divided into two major classifications: Level I and Level II fieldwork experiences. The integration of Level I and Level II experiences can be symbolized as stepping stones toward competency.
ACOTE’s 2006 Standards describes the purpose of Level II experiences… 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 (ACOTE Standards, 2006).
Augusta University’s Master of Health Science in OT program supports the ACOTE purpose and Standards. At AU, the Level II experiences include a minimum of two 12 week full time experiences for comprehensive exposure to a variety of clients and learning experiences. Students are placed in settings to foster diverse experience for preparation of a generalist. All AU OT students must complete at least one Level II FW in a physical disabilities setting. Optional elective fieldwork experiences are also possible in a setting with a specific client population of the student’s choice.
The Level II fieldwork experiences are scheduled as follows.
|OTHP 7009||Level II Fieldwork A||12 weeks
Approx dates: 9/16-12/6
|OTHP 7010||Level II Fieldwork B||12 weeks
Approx dates: 1/13-4/3
|OTHP 7011||Optional Level II