Courses and Fieldwork: Fieldwork Education
What is Fieldwork?
Fieldwork is a crucial part of occupational therapy education. These
experiences provide opportunities to carry out professional
responsibilities with supervision and role modeling provided by a
fieldwork educator. Fieldwork takes place in a variety of settings
and areas of practice. Two types of fieldwork experiences are
included within occupational therapy curricula, Level I and Level II
fieldwork. The Tufts fieldwork coordinators arrange Level I and
Level II fieldwork placements in collaboration with faculty,
students, and site fieldwork educators/coordinators.
The fieldwork coordinators and office assistant
negotiate the logistics of recruiting, assigning, confirming, and
monitoring Level I and Level II fieldwork. Upon
admission, and throughout the program, the fieldwork coordinators
are a resource for students, fieldwork educators and faculty,
providing orientation to Tufts fieldwork program and processes.
Same Site Model [SSM] of Fieldwork
The Same Site Model (SSM) is a unique approach to structuring
fieldwork designed and piloted at Tufts. The SSM involves a student
completing a Level I and Level II fieldwork experience at the same
training site. Benefits of the SSM to include:
- Becoming familiar with the setting
- Increasing comfort by decreasing anxiety around expectations
- Gaining insights regarding preparation for Level II
Pilot survey results suggested the SSM might help decrease stress
for both students and Fieldwork Educators (Evenson, Barnes & Cohn,
AJOT 2002). Currently, the fieldwork office is actively engaged in
additional research projects with collaborators from other
universities and fieldwork educators to explore fieldwork education
related topics such as; student outcomes, fieldwork educator
perceptions of facilitators/barriers to having fieldwork students,
occupational therapy/occupational therapy assistant collaborative
Level II fieldwork.
For more information please review the following:
Benefits of Fieldwork
Fieldwork provides opportunities for exchange of academic and
practical knowledge and skill development for students and
practitioners. Students share theoretical and research developments
with Fieldwork Educators while learning to assume professional roles
A recent national survey of fieldwork educators found that the top 5
benefits of having students included: an opportunity to update practice/keep
current, gain personal satisfaction, give back to their alma mater/profession,
develop supervisory and clinical reasoning skills (Roberts, Evenson, Kaldenburg,
Barnes & Ozelie. OT Practice, 2015, May 25).
Upon completion of a student's Level II fieldwork, the
occupational therapy department awards a credit voucher to the
training site, valid for full tuition of one eligible course at the
university (a Tufts course awards one course credit which is
equivalent to 4 semester hours at other colleges).
Additionally, the National Board for Certification in Occupational
Therapy (NBCOT) recognizes fieldwork education as a professional
development activity, allowing 1 Professional Development Unit (PDU)
per Level I student and 1 PDU per week of Level II fieldwork student
supervision, up to a maximum of 18 units per LI and LII fieldwork
activity (total of 36 units) in a 3 year period.