• Contact the University clinical education liaison team to discuss your ideas for potential projects
  • Liaise with the Manager/Director of the host facility you have identified as benefiting from an OT student about your ideas for a project within that facility.
  • Be organised! Define the scope of the project (with the on-site supervisor as appropriate) or discuss the range of project options available for students to choose from prior to the start of the placement.
  • In the first day or two of the placement, if not before the placement starts, include the student in discussions about the scope of the project or in selecting an appropriate project option that is of interest to them.
  • Determine timeframes for the project, as well as appropriate times for supervision throughout the placement.
  • Provide explicit expectations regarding the student’s role and tasks in the project. For instance, to conduct a needs assessment/analysis; to prepare a submission and proposal; to provide a timeline and reporting process for the project; to perform a literature review; to select and/or implement an outcome measure; or to prepare an evaluation or summaritive report on findings.
    • “It is important to provide the student with explicit instructions regarding your expectations [of the project]. For instance, show them an example of a similar existing resource or provide a proforma. If you don’t say what you want, you don’t get what you want students can’t read your mind.” S. Bartholomai, OT clinical educator, collaborative placement model (personal communication, May 31, 2007)
  • Encourage the student to experience a variety of activities within the organisation other than those related to the defined project. For example, by providing assistance with the manual handling, handwriting, mobility or dressing program for a student in a special school.

(S. Bartholomai, personal communication, May 31, 2007; QOTFC, 2007).

For the off-site Occupational Therapy clinical educator

Maintain open lines of communication by:

  • Discussing learning opportunities and expectations of the student with both the student and the on-site supervisor.
  • Regular liaison with the on-site supervisor about student progress and professional behaviour so that their input is included when you are engaged in supervision sessions with the student, and when you are evaluating student performance.

When possible, arrange to observe the student within the facility or within the context of the project, whether that be while they are running a group session, interacting with clients, or giving a presentation to staff.

Encourage the student to explain and define the OT role to others within the host facility and to focus on the specific Occupational Therapy skills and knowledge that would be of benefit.

References

Bossers, A., Cook, J., Polatajko, H & Laine, C (1997) Understanding the role emerging fieldwork placement. Canadian Journal of Occupational Therapy, 64(1): 70-81.

Queensland Occupational Therapy Fieldwork Collaborative [QOTFC] (2007) Fact Sheet. How to develop and manage a project-focused placement. Clinical Supervisor’s Toolkit. Available from http://www.otqld.org.au/ot_links/clinical_supervisors_tool_kit/index.aspx