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Kaitlyn Ryan, OTS; Melanie Beck, OTS; Lee Ungaretta, OTS; Magdalena Rooney, OTS; Elaina Dalomba, PhD, OTR/L, MSW; Leamor Kahanov, EdD, ATC, LAT


The shortage of clinical education fieldwork sites coupled with a concern over the quality of the required fieldwork experience poses an unintended outcome for the recent changes in the health care system and an increasing number of occupational therapy students. While the Accreditation Council for Occupational Therapy Education (ACOTE) issues standards for fieldwork education, the quality of the experience is known to vary. The present study employed a mixed methods concurrent nested design with a quantitative online survey alongside qualitative individual semi-structured online interviews to examine the practices and preferences of fieldwork educators in Pennsylvania ACOTE accredited programs. From the 49 quantitative online survey participants, 10 practices and preferences considered important when supervising fieldwork students emerged. Another five themes related to a quality fieldwork experience were garnered from the six qualitative semi-structured interviews. The results suggest that fieldwork educators understand the value of clinical education and intend to continue to supervise students in the future. However, while fieldwork educators value their role as an educator, they often lack the time and resources necessary to feel effective. Therefore, future research into resource use and ways in which academic programs and professional associations can support fieldwork educators is necessary.


The authors report no potential conflicts of interest.