Level I Fieldwork provides an introduction to the fieldwork experience while familiarizing students with a variety of clients and contexts of intervention. AOTA states that "The goal of Level I fieldwork is to introduce students to the fieldwork experience, to apply knowledge to practice, and to develop understanding of the needs of clients" (ACOTE, 2011, p. 33). Level I fieldwork is carried out in a wide variety of ways at occupational therapy educational institutions across the county. At EMU, we have developed Level I goals and student learning outcomes to guide our fieldwork decision making.
To meet the Level I goals and student learning outcomes, we have the following framework for our Level I fieldwork experiences:
1. Each student will complete three Level I placements. These placements correspond with an assessment and intervention course to allow you to begin to understand aspects of the OT process in a variety of settings, both with and without the on-site guidance of an occupational therapist. The semester long format will provide an avenue to apply what you are learning in the classroom to individuals at your fieldwork setting.
a. OCTH 420 is a fieldwork experience with children and/or adolescents. Placements might be in schools, childcare centers, pediatric hospital placements, private clinics and programs with a social justice mission.
b. OCTH 516 is an adult fieldwork course. Placements are in hospitals (acute care, inpatient rehab, outpatient), maximum security facilities, community mental health agencies, traumatic brain injury facilities, psychiatric hospitals, and programs with a social justice mission.
c. OCTH 517 focuses on older adults and the aging process. Typical placements include skilled nursing facilities, older adult day programs, senior centers, hospitals with a primarily older adult census and programs with a wellness focus.
2. Placements are 6-8 hours a week. You will attend weekly throughout the semester once your experience begins.
3. An on-campus directed seminar is a part of each Level I course. This allows students to learn from one another, clinically reason through situations encountered in fieldwork, explore the role of OT and the OT process at your fieldwork site, and make links between the assessment and intervention course and practice settings.
4. Students will receive supervision by qualified professionals as defined by ACOTE. In several settings supervision will be offered by disciplines other than occupational therapists. Appropriate disciplines include, but are not limited to, COTAs, psychologists, social workers, teachers, nurses, and physical therapists. .
5. Students are given a grade of CR or NC for each Level I fieldwork course. Student fieldwork performance evaluations will be placed in their student file. In addition to the fieldwork evaluation, students will be expected to complete assignments in the seminar portion of the course. See the course syllabi for grade requirements for seminar assignments. A grade of NC will necessitate that the student repeats the course at its next offering.
6. Level I placements are located within a reasonable driving distance and every attempt to accommodate student living arrangements is made. A student may need to drive for an hour or more for a given fieldwork experience. Transportation is required for Level I fieldwork.
7. No part of Level I fieldwork can be applied toward Level II fieldwork.
8. Students will not be placed in the same setting more than once to ensure exposure to a wide variety of diagnoses, settings and experiences.
9. To prevent any conflicts of interest, students will also not be placed in facilities where they currently work or have family or friends on staff.
10. Absences for Level I fieldwork should only occur due to illness or emergency situations. All absences must be made up and arranged collaboratively by the fieldwork educator and student. Excessive absences that cannot be made up during the normal course of the semester will be addressed by the Academic Fieldwork Coordinator. University and agency breaks will need to be discussed on a case-by-case basis to ensure the student has adequate time at the fieldwork experience.
11. Faculty reserves the right to delay assignment to a Level I fieldwork experience if a student demonstrates professional or personal behavior or academic performance that could present potential harm or substandard care to the clients at any agency providing a fieldwork experience. Likewise, a student can be removed from Level I fieldwork at any time for unsafe, unethical practice or for any behavior that puts the client, the agency, themselves or the University at risk.