Document Type (Journals)
Fieldwork education is considered a central component to the formative development of occupational therapy professionals and the responsibility for the quality of fieldwork educational experiences falls to the Academic Fieldwork Coordinator (AFWC). The roles and responsibilities of the AFWC vary considerably between institutions and are not clearly understood. Using a convergent mixed methods research design, the study aimed to describe the roles and responsibilities of the AFWC in occupational therapy programs in the United States and to identify the structural supports and barriers that influence success in meeting the unique expectations and challenges in fieldwork education. A 64-item online survey was completed by 103 AFWCs from accredited occupational therapy programs nationwide. Results demonstrated that AFWCs have limited teaching experience when they enter academia and report that they have been in the role for relatively short periods of time. They balance traditional core responsibilities of academic life with considerable work demands for administration and practice community collaboration for fieldwork. Findings suggest that, though role satisfaction is high, responsibilities and support and resources vary considerably among AFWCs. Understanding the role and responsibility characteristics may improve fieldwork outcomes. This study contributes to the existing research of fieldwork education and provides new data to inform occupational therapy practice and educational programs regarding the unique roles, responsibilities, and performance of the AFWC in occupational therapy and occupational therapy assistant educational programs.
Elizabeth D. DeIuliis, OTD, OTR/L has been a fieldwork coordinator for over 11 years and earned the credential Certified Leader in Academia (CLA) from AOTA’s Academic Leadership Institute in 2018.
Kimberly Persons, DHS, OTR/L previously served as an academic fieldwork coordinator and earned the credential Certified Leader in Academia (CLA) from AOTA’s Academic Leadership Institute in 2018.
Patricia Laverdure, OTD, OTR/L, BCP, FAOTA previously served as academic fieldwork coordinator and is an instructor in the AOTA Fieldwork Educator Certificate Program.
Elizabeth D. LeQuieu, PhD, OTR/L has been a fieldwork coordinator for over 13 years and earned the credential Certified Leader in Academia (CLA) from AOTA’s Academic Leadership Institute in 2018.
Declaration of Interest
The authors report no declarations of interest.
DeIuliis, E. D., Persons, K., Laverdure, P., & LeQuieu, E. D. (2021). A Nationwide Descriptive Study: Understanding Roles, Expectations, and Supports of Academic Fieldwork Coordinators in Occupational Therapy Programs. Journal of Occupational Therapy Education, 5 (4). https://doi.org/10.26681/jote.2021.050415
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