Level I Fieldwork
According to the Standards for an Accredited Educational Program for the Occupational Therapist, Level I Fieldwork is defined as the following:
The goal of Level I fieldwork is to introduce students to the fieldwork experience, and develop a basic comfort level with and understanding of the needs of clients. Level I fieldwork shall be integral to the program’s curriculum design and include experiences designed to enrich didactic coursework through directed observation and participation in selected aspects of the occupational therapy process. The focus of these experiences is not intended to be independent performance. Qualified personnel for supervised Level I fieldwork include, but are not limited to, occupational therapy practitioners initially certified nationally, psychologists, physician assistants, teachers, social workers, nurses, and physical therapists. (1999)
Students in the USC Division of Occupational Science and Occupational Therapy program participate in three Level I fieldwork experiences as part of the Practice Immersion course in either Adult Physical Rehabilitation, Mental Health or Pediatrics. The first two occur during the fall and spring semesters in the first year of the professional program. The final Level I experience occurs during the fall semester of the second year of the professional program. Students use Level I fieldwork experiences to explore emerging practice areas and gain exposure to a variety of practice settings.
Typically, the timeframe for Level I fieldwork completion is as follows:
- One full day per week in a practice setting related to the Practice Immersion course for eight weeks.
- One full time week at the same facility in the middle of the semester.
Fieldwork seminar meetings will be held after each Level I fieldwork experience. Following the successful completion of Level I fieldwork, the student is eligible to move on to Level II fieldwork positions.
Fieldwork Site Settings and Locations
There is a variety of practice settings which students may choose from. Some examples include:
- Hospital Based Physical Disabilities
- Geriatrics in Skilled Nursing Facilities
- Clinic Based Pediatrics
- School Based Pediatrics
- Hospital Based Pediatrics
- Inpatient Psychiatric Hospitals
- Community Based Mental Health Agencies
- Lifestyle Redesign Programs & Wellness
- Upper Extremity Rehabilitation & Hand Therapy
Fieldwork Site Selection Guidelines
The following guidelines are provided to assist students in the selection of Level I fieldwork experiences:
- Students will be assigned to a related fieldwork practice settings for each Level I fieldwork experience depending upon enrollment in one of the following Practice Immersion courses:
- OT 401 Adult Physical Rehabilitation and Geriatrics
- OT 402 Mental Health
- OT 403 Pediatrics
- Students will provide input in the preferred geographic location in which they would like to be placed.
- If students would like to research potential fieldwork sites, they can review the fieldwork files in Room G36. The files include information about the sites such as brochures, program information, student objectives, past student evaluations of the facility, and the types of fieldwork experiences offered.
- If students are matched with a site requiring an interview, they must schedule it as soon as possible with the site contact person. If, after the interview, it is determined that this is not a good match, students should contact the Division Fieldwork Coordinator immediately to arrange another site selection. It is appropriate to write a letter of thanks following an interview.
- No fieldwork site can be guaranteed due to center cancellations or circumstances beyond the control of the USC Division of Occupational Science and Occupational Therapy. In the event of a cancellation, students will work with the Division Fieldwork Coordinator to find another site.
There are no excused absences. Students are required to complete each day of the Level I fieldwork experience as a requirement of each Practice Immersion course and a requirement of the entry level professional program for occupational therapy.
Some fieldwork sites have flex schedules. There may be alternate work schedules required during the week such as working a ten-hour day and/or working weekends.
Professional behavior development is highlighted during Level I fieldwork. Organization, engagement in the fieldwork experience, professionalism, interpersonal communication, cultural sensitivity, professional reasoning, and participation in the supervisory process are self-assessed by the student midway through the Level I experience and formally assessed by the supervising fieldwork educator at the end of the Level I fieldwork experience. The completed Professional Development Feedback form is reviewed by the student and supervising professional and returned to the course instructor of the Practice Immersion course and the Division Fieldwork Coordinator. In the event of an unsatisfactory report, the Division Fieldwork Coordinator and student create a professional development plan.