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Matthew Lau, BHSc (Candidate)
Michael Ravenek, PhD, OT Reg. (Ont.)


Role-emerging fieldwork placements are increasingly being used in entry-level occupational therapy programs. However, published reviews have yet to focus on synthesizing the experiences and perspectives of students. This review aims to identify the opportunities, challenges, and future directions of role-emerging fieldwork placements based on the student perspective. A literature review using scoping review methods was conducted, including an electronic database search, hand-searching of journals, and citation tracking. Descriptive and thematic analyses of the articles were performed. Thirty articles were identified through the literature search. Themes that emerged related to opportunities were professional and personal development, independence and autonomy, client-centeredness, and new occupational therapy perspective. Themes that emerged related to challenges were defining a professional role, lack of structure and support, and high level of responsibility. Future directions centered on recommendations for future students and establishing roles within sites. Students benefited from the self-directed nature and client-centered practice in their role-emerging fieldwork placements, while the challenging environment contributed to their overall development. Students recognized a need for occupational therapy services in the wider community and saw role-emerging settings as legitimate career opportunities. Future research is encouraged to explore peer models, student-initiated role-emerging fieldwork placements, and postgraduate experiences.


The authors report that they have no conflicts of interest to disclose.