Credentials Display

Achini De Silva, MScOT, OT Reg. (Ont.); Eleanor Furtado, MScOT, OT Reg. (Ont.); Anne W. Hunt, PhD, OT Reg. (Ont.)


Research suggests new occupational therapists face many positive and negative experiences during their transition from student to therapist. Current research lacks information regarding sentinel events that occur during this shift. An exploration of sentinel events as interpreted through the life course perspective may inform how to support the transition to occupational therapist. The purpose of this study is to (a) determine sentinel events that occur during the transition to practice for new occupational therapists and (b) the impact of these events. A phenomenographic approach guided a semi-structured interview with 14 recent occupational therapy graduates. Interviews were transcribed verbatim and thematic analysis was conducted. The results show themes of (a) becoming independent, (b) feeling isolated, (c) navigating the unknown, (d) having supports, and (e) developing new identities. Sentinel events (e.g., navigating a new health diagnosis, orienting to a new workplace) were identified in graduates’ personal and professional lives. Understanding sentinel events in new graduates’ lives can inform curricular and workplace changes to facilitate the transition.