Story by Emily Fawaz
At the end of each spring semester occupational therapy students get excited to begin their fieldwork placements where they will practice alongside occupational therapists and put the knowledge they gained from the classroom to use. This year students are working in various settings from hospitals to communities across the nation and even as far as Scotland.
Based on student feedback from previous experiences, Patty Stutz-Tanenbaum, academic fieldwork coordinator, organized three boot camp style sessions to help students prepare for their fieldwork. Alongside Stutz-Tanenbaum, practitioners from various settings provided hands-on learning opportunities for students interested in enhancing their skills.
Three boot camps
The first boot camp was called “Transfers and Bed Mobility.” Across many settings including hospitals, rehabilitation centers and in the community, occupational therapists help their clients transfer between surfaces. This may include moving from sitting to standing or from a bed to a chair. Learning proper body positioning and movement ensures safety for both the therapist and the client and promotes independence.
The second boot camp, “Conversations that Matter on Confidence-Building Psychosocial Topics,” addressed identifying and developing rapport with individuals with mental health concerns across all occupational therapy practice settings. During this session, students learned about the large prevalence of mental health problems and the importance of being prepared as a practitioner to interact with this population in a sensitive and effective way. After a thought-provoking discussion, the instructors demonstrated the strategies they provided through clinical scenarios which allowed students to more deeply grasp how to implement all those strategies into practice.
The third and final boot camp, “Vitals, Lines and Leads,” discussed equipment and factors therapists should consider when interacting and treating clients in medical settings, such as hospitals or skilled nursing facilities. Through hands-on case studies students learned the implications of heart rate, blood pressure and oxygen levels and how these may effect therapy with the client, as well as how to maneuver IV and catheter lines safely.
A huge success
“The boot camps seemed to be a huge success,” said one of the participants. “I really appreciated the time the practitioners put into their presentations and the clinical scenarios they incorporated. The connection to practice was clear and I left with tools for my ‘OT Toolkit’ that I can take with me to fieldwork this summer.”