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Aust Occup Ther J. 2012 Aug;59(4):265-75. doi: 10.1111/j.1440-1630.2012.01026.x.

Project-based fieldwork: perspectives of graduate entry students and project sponsors.

Author information

1
Department of Occupational Therapy, School of Allied Health, Faculty of Health Sciences, La Trobe University, Bundoora, Victoria, Australia. t.fortune@latrobe.edu.au

Abstract

BACKGROUND/AIM:

This article builds on an earlier viewpoint regarding the need for project-focussed fieldwork. It presents the findings of an evaluative study into the value of project placements undertaken by final year graduate entry master's students as part of a capstone subject. The authors argue that provision of project placements enable impending graduates to develop and implement macro level strategies to develop prevention, resource and service development skills often required of contemporary occupational therapy practitioners.

METHODS:

A qualitative approach is adopted. Student cohorts from 2005 and 2006 completed open-ended, written questionnaires, and agency project sponsors were interviewed to obtain their perspectives of the project placement experience.

RESULTS:

Despite some concern that project placements might be undertaken at the expense of 'clinical' placements these findings reveal that projects managed by students were perceived by services to add great value enabling them to advance important priorities. Students and sponsors highlighted a range of positive learning outcomes, including the ability to work collaboratively with supervisors and develop advanced communication skills and political acumen. The success of such placements depends on supportive supervision from academic staff. CONCLUSIONS AND SIGNIFICANCE OF THE STUDY: The findings promote project placements as a highly authentic aspect of work integrated learning enabling learners to draw together a range of attributes that support the ability to manage complex issues that have occupational relevance at a macro level. In addition, such experiences help learners to develop agency and political acumen both increasingly important capabilities for the contemporary workplace.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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