Occupational Therapy Enhanced Practice Education Approach: Student Perspectives
Keywords:occupational therapy, practice education, quality student experience, work integrated learning
It has been suggested that to provide occupational therapy students with the best opportunities to learn while on a placement, it is important that they enter a supportive and welcoming environment that fosters quality learning experiences. To achieve a quality practice education experience, the occupational therapy team at Barwon Health developed and implemented the Barwon Health Occupational Therapy Enhanced Practice Education Approach (BHOTEPEA). The aim of this research was to ascertain occupational therapy students’ perceptions of the impact of the implementation of three core components of the BHOTEPEA: the student orientation process, facilitated practicums and reflective practice sessions. The method utilised by this study was an on-line survey to collect quantitative and qualitative data from occupational therapy students who had undertaken placements at Barwon Health between December 2014 and December 2015. Thirty-six out of 125 occupational therapy students responded to the survey (response rate of 29.8%). Students indicated that the approach assisted them to feel welcomed and prepared for placement, develop their practice skills and abilities, and develop their reflective practice skills. In conclusion, it appears that the BHOTEPEA supports the key elements of a quality practice education experience for occupational therapy students identified in the literature, including a welcoming learning environment, detailed orientation, clear expectations and a graded program of learning experiences. The findings from this research suggest other placement sites may be able to enhance the quality of their student placement experiences by adopting the three core components of the BHOTEPEA.
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