Fieldwork

Fieldwork is an integral part of the student’s occupational therapy education and is a requirement for graduation and professional certification. The fieldwork experience is a dynamic educational process in which occupational therapy students are able to experience the roles, responsibilities, and rewards of facilitating occupational therapy services. According to the American Occupational Therapy Association (2009) “the purpose of fieldwork education is to propel each generation of occupational therapy practitioners from the role of student to that of practitioner” (p. 393). The students completing the NAU Occupational Therapy entry-level doctoral degree will be required to complete Level I and Level II Fieldwork experiences.

Level I Fieldwork

Students will actively participate in three Level 1 Fieldwork rotations. Level I Fieldwork experiences will occur in three semesters and are integrated with the academic courses, beginning with the summer semester of the first year, and fall and spring semester of the second year. These experiences will be completed for a minimum of 40 hours for each rotation and will occur over the course of the semester or during the last week of the semester. Each sequence of fieldwork will be individualized for every student to gain knowledge of working with a variety of clients that have conditions and diagnoses across the lifespan in diverse settings.

The students may complete these rotations in traditional settings, such as a hospital, school district, or skilled nursing facility, and in emerging practice areas, such as community based mental health clinics, productive aging, and health and wellness centers. Students will be supervised by qualified personnel, which may include an occupational therapist, occupational therapy assistant, nurse, social worker, physical therapist, or teacher.

The Accreditation Council for Occupational Therapy Education (2011) states, “The goal of Level I fieldwork is to introduce students to the fieldwork experience, to apply knowledge to practice, and to develop understanding of the needs of clients” (p. 34). Each Level 1 Fieldwork experience will facilitate professional and practice based skills that the student acquires through coursework up to the point of placement and will progress in expectations and rigor to promote the progression into a successful Level 2 Fieldwork student.   

Level II Fieldwork

Students will actively participate in a minimum of two Level 2 Fieldwork rotations. Level 2 Fieldwork experiences will occur in two semesters, with the first one beginning towards the end of the summer semester of the second year and continuing through the beginning of the fall semester of the third year. The second rotation will be completed for the remainder of the fall semester of the third year. These experiences will be completed full-time for a minimum of 24 weeks.

The students may complete these rotations in traditional and/or emerging practice settings. Fieldwork students will be supervised by a qualified practitioner, which will include a licensed occupational therapist who has a minimum of 1 year full-time practice experience and is prepared to serve as a fieldwork educator.

The Accreditation Council for Occupational Therapy Education (2011) states, “The goal of Level II fieldwork is to develop competent, entry-level, generalist occupational therapists” (p. 34). These rotations will provide the student with an opportunity to take the learned knowledge obtained from the academic program and apply it to clinical practice. Each student will develop competencies that are unique to the setting that they are in and will ultimately develop the student into a clinician and a practice scholar. Upon successful completion of both fieldwork rotations, the students will have vast knowledge and experience with diverse clients who have various psychosocial, cognitive, and physical performance impairments, and the diverse service delivery models that are representative of current occupational therapy trends. The semester following the last Level II Fieldwork rotation will be the student’s residency semester.

Please contact Oaklee Rogers at Oaklee.rogers@nau.edu to become a fieldwork educator or if you have fieldwork related questions.

Additional information for fieldwork educators and fieldwork students will be coming soon!