The Project-focused Placement Model

Project focused placements refer to placements where the primary focus of the placement is for the student/s to undertake one or more prescribed projects relevant to occupational therapy practice that the host facility has nominated in negotiation with the occupational therapy clinical educator and university. The host facility may or may not already employ an occupational therapist. For instance, a project may be incorporated into a clinical placement setting where the workload is likely to fluctuate such as in private practice, or may be assigned as a group student project in the multiple mentoring or collaborative clinical placement models.

Examples of suitable projects include, but are not limited to:

  • Development and/or evaluation of a new or existing individual or group program for clients;
  • Development and/or evaluation of a new or existing resource kit, educational handout, or education package. For example, a de-sensitization kit for patients with hypersensitivity; development of a proforma for neurological assessment of CVA patients; guidelines for cognitive re-training activities.
  • A research and literature review of a certain topic;
  • An audit or survey;
  • Specific task analyses or workplace assessments.

(Queensland Occupational Therapy Fieldwork Collaborative [OTFC], 2007)

Supervision Arrangements

Where there is an occupational therapist employed within the facility, supervision would be provided by the occupational therapist/s as per any other placement, according to the respective placement model ie. traditional, multiple-mentoring or collaborative models.

Where no occupational therapist is employed within the facility, the student is supervised on-site by a suitably qualified non-occupational therapist within the facility, and by a qualified off-site occupational therapist (either from a related facility or the university) on a regular basis (usually weekly).

The role of the occupational therapy clinical educator is to provide support, guidance, advice and assistance in developing the project, as well as guiding the student to focus on the occupational therapy role within the facility.

Liaison between the on-site supervisor and the occupational therapy clinical educator is essential for the success of the project placement (Bossers, Cook, Polatajko & Laine, 1997).