Level I Fieldwork

Level I Fieldwork Standards

The “Standards for an Accredited Educational Program for the Occupational Therapist”, as defined by the Accreditation Council for Occupational Therapy Education (ACOTE) require that the Fieldwork site and the Occupational Therapy education program meet the following standards:

  • Standard C.1.1: Ensure that the fieldwork program reflects the sequence and scope of content in the curriculum design in collaboration with faculty, so that fieldwork experiences in traditional, nontraditional, and emerging settings strengthen the ties between didactic and fieldwork education.
  • Standard C.1.3: Document that academic and fieldwork educations agree on established fieldwork objectives prior to the start of the fieldwork experience, and communicate with the student and fieldwork educator about progress and performance throughout the fieldwork experience. Ensure that fieldwork objectives for all experiences include a psychosocial objective.
  • Standard C.1.4: Ensure that the ratio of fieldwork educators to students enables proper supervision, and provides protection of consumers, opportunities for appropriate role modeling of occupational therapy practice, and the ability to provide frequent assessment of student progress in achieving stated fieldwork objectives.
  • Standard C.1.6: The program must have evidence of valid memoranda of understanding in effect and signed by both parties from the onset of the Level I fieldwork and the Level II fieldwork if it involves an entity outside of the academic program.
  • Standard C.1.7: At least one fieldwork experience (either Level I or Level II) must address practice in behavioral health, or psychological and social factors influencing engagement in occupation.
  • Standard C1.8: Ensure that personnel who supervise Level I fieldwork are informed of the curriculum and fieldwork program design and affirm their ability to support the fieldwork experience. This must occur prior to the onset of the Level I fieldwork. Examples include, but are not limited to, currently licensed or otherwise regulated occupational therapists and occupational therapy assistants, psychologists, physician assistants, teachers, social workers, physicians, speech language pathologists, nurses, and physical therapists.
  • Standard C.1.9: Document that Level I fieldwork is provided to students and is not substituted for any part of the Level II fieldwork. Ensure that Level I fieldwork enriches didactic course work through directed observation and participation in selected aspects of the occupational therapy process, and include mechanisms for formal evaluation of student performance.

The AOTA Standards describe the goal of Level I fieldwork “to introduce students to fieldwork, apply knowledge to practice, and develop understanding of the needs of clients”. Level I fieldwork is not intended to develop independent performance, but to “enrich didactic coursework through directed observation and participation in selected aspects of the occupational therapy process.”

Services may be provided to a variety of populations through a variety of settings. Experiences may include those directly related to occupational therapy, as well as other situations to enhance an understanding of the developmental stages, tasks, and roles of individuals throughout the life span.

Level I Fieldwork Objectives

Level I Fieldwork will allow the student to develop and demonstrate personal and professional work behaviors. The student will:

  1. demonstrate punctuality and adherence to attendance guidelines
  2. recognize and follow formal and informal procedures, including dress code in the clinical setting
  3. learn proper use of supplies and contribute to keeping the clinic organized
  4. articulate and practice safety and emergency practices in the clinical/community setting
  5. apply ethical guidelines to the clinical/community settings
  6. maintain strict confidentiality of patients/clients
  7. demonstrate interpersonal skills necessary for effective communication and collaboration with clients/patients as well as with health care professionals
  8. become familiar with therapeutic equipment and devices used in the clinical setting
  9. utilize professional judgement in communication and practice skills
  10. receive and demonstrate responsiveness to constructive criticism and suggestions for improvement
  11. express educational curiosity through demonstrated enthusiasm, relevant questioning, and initiation to pursue learning opportunities
  12. manage time to schedule work for self and allow for completion of tasks

Level I Fieldwork will expose the student to a diversity of practice models and increase awareness of community resources and needs. The student will:

  1. observe and describe the resources available in the community/clinical setting
  2. articulate sponsorship, philosophy, and mission of the agency
  3. discuss the role or the potential role of occupational therapy in the clinical/community setting
  4. demonstrate an understanding of roles and functions of various team members observed in the clinical/community setting

Level I Fieldwork will provide the student with opportunities to develop observation, communication, and documentation skills, to integrate and apply knowledge gained in the classroom and laboratory and develop an understanding of the needs of the clients. The student will:

  1. define the unique nature of OT to various audiences
  2. observe and practice communication and interaction skills, including therapeutic use of self with staff and patients/clients
  3. document data or observations of patient/client performance using professional terminology
  4. identify various forms of documentation that meet standards for reimbursement
  5. describe the patient’s clinical condition/performance skills/client factors/context and the impact upon occupational performance
  6. observe and identify psychosocial/behavioral needs of clients.