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Fieldwork Placements for Students

Access to World-Class Health Care Facilities

Through the Institute’s affiliation with Partners HealthCare, you will enjoy access to leading practitioners in the Metropolitan Boston area who serve as faculty and mentors.

Full- and part-time fieldwork experiences are integrated at every stage of the curriculum, allowing you to continually connect theory with practice.

Fieldwork is completed in a variety of clinical and practice settings (e.g., acute care, rehab, school-based practice, community). Students are exposed to a variety of clients across the lifespan and to a variety of settings. Institute OTD students must complete the following fieldwork experiences, each described below:

  • Five part-time fieldwork experiences (Level I Fieldwork)
  • Two full-time fieldwork experience (Level II Fieldwork)
  • An Advanced Doctoral Experience (ADE) (Doctoral Experiential Component)

For each, there are different criteria for learning goals, teaching methods, student supervision, schedules, and evaluation of student performance, as noticed in this table.

Level I Fieldwork

Learning objectives for Level I fieldwork.

Level I fieldwork introduces you to the fieldwork experience, applying knowledge to practice and developing an understanding of the needs of clients. Level I fieldwork experiences enrich your didactic coursework through directed observation and participation in selected aspects of the OT process. In Level I fieldwork your supervisors are qualified occupational therapists, psychologists, physician assistants, teachers, nurses, physical therapists, and social workers – contributing to the interprofessional education model.

Level II Fieldwork

Learning objectives for Level II fieldwork.

Level II fieldwork develops you to be a competent, entry-level, generalist occupational therapist. Level II fieldwork requires a minimum of 24 weeks of full-time fieldwork (960 practice hours). This is generally done in two 12-week placements. This fieldwork also provides you the opportunity to develop competency in safety and ethics, evaluation, intervention, and documentation of client-centered, occupation-based outcomes, management/administration, communication and teaching, and professionalism.

The Director of Clinical Education will meet with individual students upon starting the program in the first Summer Session to begin the fieldwork advising and planning process.

Please note that the Program cannot guarantee placements at specific facilities or during specific time frames. Fieldwork placements are subject to site availability at locations that have contracts with the Program, in accordance with relevant federal, state, and local laws and regulations. The availability of any particular fieldwork facility varies from semester to semester.

Advanced Doctoral Experience

Learning objectives for Advanced Doctoral Experience.

Once you successfully complete all coursework and Level II fieldwork, and pass a program competency requirement, you begin your Advance Doctoral Experience (ADE).

The goal of the doctoral experiential component is to develop you as an occupational therapist with advanced skills (those that are beyond a generalist level). This doctoral experiential component provides you with an in-depth experience in one or more of the following student-selected areas: clinical practice, research, leadership (including program and policy development, and advocacy), or education.

This experience to develop advanced skills is a minimum of 16 full-time weeks (640 hours). Evaluation of your individualized objectives occurs under the supervision of a mentor with expertise in your chosen area. These advanced doctoral experiences are distinct components of accredited entry-level OTD programs. They are linked to your scholarly study and doctoral capstone – connecting research and practice.

Students begin to identify interests for doctoral work during the second year of the program in conjunction with the research course sequence. Project design evolves through collaboration with a faculty advisor and a doctoral site mentor with expertise in the selected area(s) of focus.

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