Fieldwork Education

A Vision for Canadian Occupational Therapy Fieldwork Education

The Committee on University Fieldwork Education (CUFE) of the Association of Canadian Occupational Therapy University Programs (ACOTUP) has reviewed the national guidelines for fieldwork education in response to a number of developments. Feedback from fieldwork partners, shifts in health care environments, changes in occupational therapy practice, and the new profile and core competencies of practice have highlighted the need to update the Canadian Guidelines for Fieldwork Education in Occupational Therapy (CGFEOT) and reduce administrative procedures while continuing to promote excellence in fieldwork education.

Quality improvement is a systems process whereby identified critical indicators can be measured and monitored. The documentation process proposed in the CGFEOT aims to monitor the numerous activities which have been deemed essential to the support and development of a quality experience for all stakeholders in occupational therapy fieldwork education. The 2011 revised version of the CGFEOT is intended to guide fieldwork partners in developing an effective environment for learning, together with fieldwork education resources and student learning opportunities. In addition, the CGFEOT will guide universities in determining appropriate fieldwork education experiences that enable students to integrate academic and fieldwork learning throughout their professional development.

In updating the CGFEOT, CUFE members aim to implement a process which promotes quality and accountability and reflects current best practice in fieldwork education. The guidelines have incorporated input from a variety of sources: consultation with fieldwork partners on the challenges and benefits of providing fieldwork education, a visioning experience by university fieldwork coordinators to identify factors for effective management of fieldwork education, and a review of national and international documents. CUFE acknowledges the commitment of its fieldwork partners (fieldwork sites, fieldwork educators, on-site fieldwork coordinators, and other team members) in continuing to support a high quality fieldwork education program.

Section 1 of the guidelines includes principles to promote optimum fieldwork education. Section 2 presents the responsibilities of fieldwork education partners: students, preceptors and university programs. Finally, section 3 proposes tools and processes for supporting quality in fieldwork education.