Benefits and challenges of supervising occupational therapy fieldwork students: supervisors' perspectives

Thomas, Yvonne, Dickson, David, Broadbridge, Jacqueline, Hopper, Linda, Hawkins, Rachel, Edwards, Ann, and McBryde, Cathy (2007) Benefits and challenges of supervising occupational therapy fieldwork students: supervisors' perspectives. Australian Occupational Therapy Journal, 54. S2-S12.

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Background/aim: Increased enrolments in occupational therapy education programs, together with changes in the employment patterns of practising occupational therapists, have resulted in a crisis in fieldwork education in Australia. This study aimed to investigate fieldwork supervisors’ perspectives regarding the benefits and challenges of providing fieldwork placements, explore the potential link between providing student placements and later workforce recruitment, and document currently employed models of fieldwork supervision.

Methods: Participants included past, present and potential future fieldwork supervisors, sourced from fieldwork coordinators’ databases at The University of Queensland and James Cook University. Using an online, purpose-designed questionnaire, descriptive data (frequencies and percentages)were gathered from forced-choice questions. For open-ended questions, content analysis was conducted to identify categories and themes.

Results: One hundred and thirty-two surveys were completed. Benefits of fieldwork placements related to opportunities for later recruitment of fieldwork students,students conducting projects and developing resources, a sense of contributing to the occupational therapy profession, and the development of employee skills. Challenges related to staffing issues, lack of physical resources and prohibitive workload pressures. Multiple models of supervision were employed in supervisors’ workplaces, and almost all participants responsible for workplace employment had employed fieldwork students they had previously supervised.

Conclusions: The results demonstrate a strong link between supervision and later recruitment of fieldwork students, suggesting that supervision of students is of considerable advantage to the host organisations in the recruitment of appropriately prepared employees. The study also demonstrates additional benefits to be promoted to supervisors and organisations to encourage and support fieldwork placements.

Item ID: 2296
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 1440-1630
Keywords: clinical education; recruitment; supervision; fieldwork; fieldwork education; survey; occupational therapy workforce; employer
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Date Deposited: 09 Jun 2009 05:37
FoR Codes: 11 MEDICAL AND HEALTH SCIENCES > 1103 Clinical Sciences > 110399 Clinical Sciences not elsewhere classified @ 100%
SEO Codes: 92 HEALTH > 9202 Health and Support Services > 920201 Allied Health Therapies (excl. Mental Health Services) @ 100%
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