Fieldwork is your opportunity to make the transition between the books, lectures and theories to the moment you help a patient with their needs. Fieldwork also gives you a chance to gather the tools you will need to transition to a licensed, professional occupational therapist.
With fieldwork more challenging now than ever, try these three strategies to embrace your OT fieldwork experience and make the most of the time spent in your placements.
- Start thinking about fieldwork from the moment you start your first OT class. Not to lock in on a certain placement with a certain population in a certain institution, but by always trying to connect the theory you are studying with a real patient facing real needs and challenges.
- Learn to ask questions, many questions. The more you ask, the more you will learn especially in fieldwork when the pace is faster and theory isn’t always part of the conversation. Asking the right questions, at the right time, in the right way translates directly into becoming a great occupational therapist whether you are asking those questions of your patients or of your colleagues and supervisors.
- Consider a fieldwork placement outside your comfort zone. Occupational therapy is practiced in a tremendous range of settings and serves patients across the age spectrum and with a wide range of conditions. Fieldwork is a perfect opportunity to experience this diversity, and you might just discover something new to love about OT.
I love helping fellow OTs and my mission in creating the Occupational Therapy Toolkit was to help by sharing my experience and resources. As I talk to OT students, I hear over and over that my book proved to be a great reference during fieldwork. The latest edition, with 97 treatment guides and 354 illustrated patient education handouts, can serve as a go-to resource not only through fieldwork but into your career.