Occupational Therapy Program Fieldwork
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Occupational Therapy Program Fieldwork

Clinical Artibus et Practicum: External Education at Salus

One of the many advantages a new Salus graduate has over peers from other institutions is early and continual exposure to the clinical side of his/her profession during their days as a student. An emphasis on early clinical skills has long been a hallmark of the optometry program and it is no different for audiology and physician assistant students.

babyFor programs in the College of Education and Rehabilitation – blindness and low vision studies, occupational therapy and speech-language pathology - it has been challenging over the years to raise the collective awareness about the terms “fieldwork” and “client” as opposed to “clinical skills” and “patient” with regard to their students.

What the process is called and how all of these skills are honed may differ from program to program. What has never wavered however is the institutional commitment to early exposure and the transition from lab-learned skills to real-life practice.

Occupational Therapy Program Fieldwork
College of Education & Rehabilitation

OT studentsAnna Grasso, MS, OTR/L, CAPS is the academic fieldwork coordinator for the Occupational Therapy (OT) program in the University’s College of Education & Rehabilitation. Students in the OT program have five fieldwork rotations, or real-world and hands-on externships within the healthcare world, starting in the spring semester of year one. Field work is meant to build entry level confidence and is a good foundation for moving forward in the OT profession.

  • Each student is placed individually based upon proximity, practice interest, and appropriateness of the setting to the students’ skills and personalities, as opposed to a lottery system that is common in other schools. This system allows students to gain diverse experiences and the most preparation for their board exam.
  • Salus exclusive sites include Ralston MyWay (a non-medical homecare company that works with community dwelling seniors) and Breastfeeding Resource Center (a non-profit, community-based center that provides expert clinical and educational breastfeeding services), among others.
  • There are three level one externships (completed in the second, third , and fourth semester):
    • Pediatric
    • Adult
    • Emerging Practice
  • There are two level two externships in the fifth semester that are 12 weeks each:
    • Student preference
    • Selected site based on skills and a balance to help student succeed on their board exams
  • While in level two externships, students write reflections, submitted through Blackboards system, which allows students to analyze the structure of their setting and discuss areas they excel in and or what they’d like to improve during their rotation.  Results of each site are measured through the Student Evaluation of the Fieldwork Educator (SEFWE), where students provide feedback on the site, their preceptors, and how well their didactic material prepared them for fieldwork.
  • While many are local, travel externships are an option within parameters.

The fieldwork placement is intended to be an in-depth experiential field experience that is critical to occupational therapy education. Sites are located in institutions, outpatient facilities, community-based services and/or schools in which they deliver acute, sub-acute or chronic care.

There is always a need for more sites. Interested therapists can contact Grasso for more information and discussion at agrasso@salus.edu.

Learn More About Our Occupational Therapy Program