graduate program: Occupational Therapy

Level Two Fieldwork


Philosophy and Attitudes

Therapists who supervise students must remain sensitive to the changing needs of each student while, at the same time, promoting the student's development of effective therapeutic relationships, evaluation and treatment techniques, and clinical problem solving skills. In addition, the supervisor must facilitate the assumption of professional responsibility, behavior and attitudes, self-confidence, and personal growth.

Supervision includes spontaneous discussions, instruction, guidance, and scheduled conferences or feedback sessions. The student/supervisor relationship should be a shared growth experience built upon mutually determined needs and objectives. Supervisors give students feedback the feedback essential to their development as therapists, and then receive student's feedback which is essential to continuing development as a fieldwork supervisor. The need for open, direct, and timely communication cannot be overemphasized.

Independent functioning, thought, and experimentation is encouraged in the student. There is no single "right" way for the student supervisor to approach every problem or situation.

Fieldwork requirements are guidelines that represent minimal expectations of performance. The amount and depth of knowledge and experience the student gains depends upon the degree to which the student shares the responsibility for learning. This self-initiated inquiry process actively uses the personnel, resources, and experiences available.

Essentials of Supervision

The numerous responsibilities of the fieldwork supervisor may vary among fieldwork centers, depending on the number of staff available, the client caseload, and number of affiliating students. The basic supervisory responsibilities, however, consistent with those considered essential to any supervisory role, include the following:

1. Establishing expectations and communicating them explicitly;
2. Monitoring performance;
3. Providing feedback;
4. Evaluating performance

The expectations for student performance must be clearly identified from the outset of the fieldwork experience. Expectations of students may be identified by using the following guidelines:

1. Behavioral objectives specific to each category or to each item of the
form used to evaluate student performance (Fieldwork Evaluation Form “FWE�);
2. Guidelines outlining the minimum acceptable goals to be achieved
during specified time periods (weekly objectives)
3. Established criteria for personal and professional behavior specific to
the fieldwork center (e.g., policies and procedures for department and

Expectations of students should be documented in writing as clearly and specifically as feasible, with copies provided to the student early in the fieldwork experience. It is also recommended that the supervisor review these expectations verbally with the student in the beginning and refer back to them frequently as the fieldwork experience progresses.

The fieldwork supervisor is expected to observe and monitor student performance for the following reasons:

1. To gain first-hand information about the student's strengths and weaknesses;
2. To observe specific instances that will form the basis for feedback to the student;
3. To form a representative sample of work behavior and performance
upon which to evaluate the student.

(Adapted from AOTA Guide to Fieldwork Manual, pp. 157-161)