Date of Award
Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)
Joshua E. Hunter
The purpose of this study was to explore occupational therapy student’s experiences with integrating best practice professional ideals during Level II fieldwork. Occupational therapy students in the United States complete 24 weeks of Level II fieldwork prior to graduation. Students transition from the classroom setting where they are prepared with knowledge about the professions best practice ideals, to the fieldwork setting where many factors impact the learning experience. Using qualitative research, a narrative inquiry was undertaken to explore the experiences of four occupational therapy students during their Level II fieldwork experiences. I interviewed each student on five occasions throughout the 24 weeks. In addition, the students each wrote two reflective letters toward the end of the timeframe. From the study, four themes emerged: 1) students experienced a theory-to-practice gap, 2) student factors impacting integration of best practice, 3) site-specific factors impacting integration of best practice, and 4) academic factors impacting integration of best practice. Several implications of the findings have been explored for the student, the fieldwork educator and the academic setting and recommendations made to facilitate student transition. Future research is recommended on numerous topics as result from my study First, what is the impact of various curricular designs and pedagogies on student learning, implementing of best practice, and student professional identity development? Second, what is the impact of various fieldwork supervision models and fieldwork structures on student learning, implementing of best practice, and student professional identity development? Third, what is the impact on the student’s journey to self-authorship with the application of the self-authorship model (Baxter Magolda, & King, 2004)? How is self-authorship related to student’s ability to integrate best practice ideals into fieldwork? Fourth, how can greater understanding of transition theory lead to more effective transitions from classroom to fieldwork and fieldwork to the workplace?
Graves, Cherie, "Integrating Best Practice Into Fieldwork: A Narrative Inquiry Into The Level II Experiences Of Occupational Therapy Students" (2019). Theses and Dissertations. 2556.