Document Type (Journals)
At the start of the COVID-19 pandemic in the spring of 2020, many school-based occupational therapy practitioners experienced intensified job demands including a rapid shift to telehealth service delivery. Additionally, academic fieldwork coordinators sought to find effective methods of delivering fieldwork education and supporting those involved, including the occupational therapy fieldwork educators and students, as they navigated the new context imposed by the pandemic. A study was completed using a synchronous webinar format and post-webinar survey to explore school-based occupational therapy practitioners’ perceptions of readiness to provide occupational therapy services through telehealth, the perception of preparedness of potential, current, and past fieldwork educators to supervise students during the pandemic, and the effectiveness of using a webinar format to deliver this education. Email invitations were sent to a list generated by academic fieldwork coordinators that included former, current, and potential occupational therapy fieldwork educators. Four hundred thirty-three international participants attended the 122 minute educational webinar presented through the Zoom video conference platform, with 80% of participants being school-based occupational therapists. The webinar contained three parts: two occupational therapists who addressed telehealth in practice, academic fieldwork coordinators who presented on the supervision of fieldwork students during telehealth service provision, and a panel discussion led by an active fieldwork educator and student who worked together during the time of initial COVID-19 restrictions. An electronic survey was administered through email at two weeks and three weeks post-webinar to measure participant telehealth webinar outcomes and assess the webinar impact on perceptions of feeling supported and future participation as a fieldwork educator. Forty-six participants returned the survey and descriptive statistics and content analysis were used to analyze survey results. Based on the results, participants agreed most with the telehealth service statements “I understand some of the barriers of providing telehealth services” (96%); “I better understand the process of providing telehealth services” (91%); and “I can identify what type of client would benefit from telehealth services” (85%). Survey results also indicated that 11% of participants strongly agreed or agreed to consider taking their first fieldwork students, 54% felt more supported as a fieldwork educator, and 57% strongly agreed or agreed that they could identify effective ways for fieldwork students to help support their clinical practice. Results also showed that a synchronous virtual webinar was perceived by participants as an effective method to deliver this education.
Jennifer Calabrese, OTD, MOT, OTR/L is founding Doctoral Capstone Coordinator and Assistant Professor in the Doctor of Occupational Therapy Program at Widener University. Her primary practice area has been older adults and aging in place. She received a Post-Professional OTD from Chatham University and MOT from Duquesne University.
Jeanne M. Coviello, OTD, OTR/L is currently a co-Academic Fieldwork Coordinator at Temple University. During her 32-year career, she has worked in a variety of adult practice settings prior to transitioning to academia. Jeanne completed her post-professional doctoral degree at Thomas Jefferson University.
Anna Y. Grasso, MSOT is Academic Fieldwork Coordinator and Assistant Professor in the Master of Science in Occupational Therapy program at Salus University. Her primary clinical practice area is in home modifications for aging-in-place. She received her MSOT from Ithaca College and is currently enrolled in Temple University’s post-professional OTD program.
Kelly A. Otchet, DrOT, OTR/L, CPST is currently Director of Fieldwork Education and Assistant Professor at University of the Sciences. Kelly has worked in various pediatric settings including long-term care, school based, and early intervention. Kelly received her BSHS and entry-level DrOT Degree from University of the Sciences.
Erica A. Pugh, OTD, OTR/L, RYT-200 is currently co-Academic Fieldwork Coordinator at Temple University. She has worked in practice across the lifespan with a current focus on community-based health and wellness. Erica completed her post-professional OTD at Temple University and her MOT at the University of the Sciences in Philadelphia.
Mary Beth Thomas, DOT, OTR/L is currently Academic Fieldwork Coordinator and Assistant Professor at Thomas Jefferson University. She has worked in pediatric hospital and school-based practice with a focus on mental health. Mary Beth completed her post-professional DOT at Temple University and her MSOT at Thomas Jefferson University.
Bridget A. Trivinia, OTD, MS, OTR/L is the founding Director of Fieldwork Education and Clinical Assistant Professor in the Doctor of Occupational Therapy Program at Widener University. Her primary practice area has been adults and older adults in both traditional and community-based settings. Dr. Trivinia completed both her Master of Science in Occupational therapy and Post-Professional Clinical Doctorate at Thomas Jefferson University.
Declaration of Interest
The authors report no declarations of interest.
Calabrese, J. A., Coviello, J. M., Grasso, A. Y., Otchet, K. A., Pugh, E. A., Thomas, M., & Trivinia, B. (2021). Use of a Webinar to Assess Fieldwork Educator Readiness to Provide Occupational Therapy Services and Supervise Students Through Telehealth. Journal of Occupational Therapy Education, 5 (2). https://doi.org/10.26681/jote.2021.050212
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