Hey readers! It feels like so long since I last posted an OT advice post! I recently completed my third out of five level I fieldwork placements. Level I fieldworks are essentially an opportunity to observe OT in various settings. Level I students cannot provide or assist in therapy, however there are lots of ways to make the most of this learning experience. Here is my list of tips to make the most of level I fieldwork:
Be sure to arrive early, dress professionally (or in scrubs, if your setting prefers), and bring whatever you will need for the day. Some things that I recommend are water, a snack and/or lunch, a small notebook and pen, and information about any assignments that you might have relating to the fieldwork experience.
Always ask questions, more questions, and even more questions. This is a learning experience! Your supervisor may not know what you have and have not yet learned in school, so never pretend like you know what they are talking about if you do not. I tend to ask about diagnoses that I am unfamiliar with, what the patient’s goals are, and why the OT is choosing to do certain intervention techniques.
Share your interests with your supervisor
When you meet your supervisor, they may ask you about your interests in OT or if you have ever been in a setting like this one before. Don’t be afraid to tell your supervisor that you are interested in a particular area of OT, even if it is not the setting that you are currently observing in. Your supervisor might be willing to let you observe in other areas of the hospital or clinic if you have the time. She/he may also purposefully show you or tell you about various interventions or diagnoses that you are interested in, but only if you tell them.
Take charge of your own learning
I recently had an experience where I had a little bit of spare time during the day at fieldwork and needed to fill it. You can take charge of your own learning by asking the OT if she/he can introduce you to another OT to shadow, walk you to another floor of the hospital or clinic, let you observe their documentation process, or even see unique interventions like aquatic therapy or orthosis fabrication.
Talk to patients & clients
One of the best parts of fieldwork is getting to talk to patients and clients. I have learned so much from them during my fieldwork experiences by hearing their personal experiences with their diagnoses and therapy. You are also able to practice your communication skills!
Good luck on your level I fieldwork experiences! Comment below if you have any more tips for OT students.
Thanks for reading!