Fieldwork education is designed to provide occupational therapy students with opportunities to integrate academically acquired education with practice. It is during the fieldwork experience that the student can learn, practice and refine skills of observation, evaluation, treatment planning, implementation and communication. In the fieldwork setting the student begins to define his or her future roles as a practicing occupational therapist and can develop the necessary self-confidence and affective characteristics essential to meeting the demands for this challenging field. Fieldwork provides many opportunities for feedback which promotes professional behaviors and attitudes and clinical expertise.
Fieldwork is an integral part of the education of an occupational therapist. Fieldwork must occur in an environment that provides experiences which reinforce previous learning and which challenge and motivate the student to develop professionally and adapt to clinic situations.
The School of Occupational Therapy coordinates fieldwork opportunities for students at locations in Tennessee and across the United States within regulatory guidelines established by each state. International opportunities may also be available. Belmont University is part of the National Council for State Authorization Reciprocity Agreements (NC-SARA) which guides placement in most states. Note: Fieldwork placements are not currently available in North Carolina or Illinois.
The academic fieldwork coordinator is responsible for the planning and implementation of integrated and sustained fieldwork experiences. The experiences occur under the supervision of and with the support of occupational therapists or other qualified individuals. To ensure that the fieldwork activities support and enhance the goals of the program there is continual collaboration by clinical educators, academic faculty, and the academic fieldwork coordinator.
In keeping with Belmont University's occupational therapy program's mission and curriculum design, fieldwork will be directed toward meeting the goals of education for practice, advocacy, and research. The fieldwork experiences are designed to encourage values and behaviors that exemplify professional leadership, integrity, and social consciousness; these values/behaviors support the program's goals to develop ethical practitioners to meet the immediate and future needs of the community.
The occupational therapy program requires both Level I and Level II fieldwork experiences. Level I fieldwork is an integral part of the didactic portion of the educational program. Students are exposed to diverse practice settings to increase their understanding of occupational therapy. Level II fieldwork is the culminating educational experience for the Belmont University occupational therapy student.