- Fieldwork Coordinator
Dr. Liz Baltus Hebert
The fieldwork educational component of the BS/MS Occupational Therapy program at Nazareth College will be designed to meet all of the standards required by ACOTE for Fieldwork Education. It will be consistent with the proposed OT curriculum design that emphasizes foundational knowledge, application and service learning, and research
There are two levels of fieldwork for the occupational therapy student. These are described as Level I and Level II experiences.
Level I Fieldwork
The AOTA Standards describe the goal of Level I Fieldwork "to introduce students to the fieldwork experience, and develop a basic comfort level with an understanding of the needs of clients." Level I Fieldwork is not intended to develop independent performance, but to "include experiences designed to enrich coursework through directed observation and participation in selected aspects of the occupational therapy process."
There will be several Level I fieldwork experiences interwoven throughout the OT curriculum. Some of these observations will on campus in the labs and clinics, and others will be in the community. These experiences will introduce the student to the types of individuals served by occupational therapy and how those services are delivered. The student will be able to observe and interact with individuals of all age ranges during these experiences. Written assignments will evaluate their observational experiences and how their observations relate to occupation.
All of the practice courses in the senior year will have Level I fieldwork experiences that will allow for learning about the evaluation, intervention, and evidence associated with specific populations of clients.
Level II Fieldwork
The Level II fieldwork experiences which begin the Graduate phase of study will be scheduled for 12 weeks in the Summer following the Senior year and for 12 weeks in the Fall of the 5th graduate year. There is a total of 24 weeks of fieldwork. Level II fieldwork is a crucial part of professional preparation. According to the AOTA, the goal of Level II Fieldwork is “to develop competent, entry-level, generalist occupational therapists”. The fieldwork experience provides students with the opportunity to integrate academic knowledge with the application of skills in a practice setting. (AOTA, 1999a & b; AOTA, 1996)
Students at Nazareth will be able to choose sites that emphasize adult neurological, physical and cognitive/perceptual disabilities. In addition they will be able to choose a pediatric or school based site, or a psychosocial site. During the two fieldwork experiences, students will work with an occupational therapist and be expected to use evidence based evaluation and treatment methods and apply information learned in the classroom. These invaluable learning experiences will assist in preparing the student for entry-level practice as an occupational therapist.