Innovation, personal growth and professional identity: perspectives on role emerging placements in occupational therapy
thesisposted on 2022-09-09, 08:25 authored by Alison F. Warren
Role emerging placements are relatively new in the Republic of Ireland and there is debate regarding the influence of this placement model on the learning and development of occupational therapy students. The model involves a student completing a placement in a non-traditional setting, with supervision from an on-site supervisor and an off-site occupational therapist. This research explores how learning opportunities are created in role emerging placements to support the development of occupational therapy students. The focus is on competency, capability and the development of professional identity. A phenomenological approach was employed to gain an understanding of the experiences of students, graduates and supervisors involved with role emerging placements. Five occupational therapy students were tracked through semi-structured interviews as they completed a role emerging placement (20 interviews). Six occupational therapists were interviewed who had completed a role emerging placement during their pre-registration programme. Role emerging on and off-site supervisors were also interviewed (eight interviews). Ethical approval was granted by the University of Limerick. Interpretative phenomenological analysis (IPA) was utilised for the occupational therapy student interviews whilst thematic analysis was used for the occupational therapist and supervisor interviews. The master themes from the analysis suggest that the learning focus of the environment facilitates innovation; students develop a tool box of transferable skills towards competent professional practice and personal growth is enhanced with supported reflexivity. There was divergence in the themes relating to supervision levels and the creation of a role for occupational therapy within the placement settings.These findings are discussed with reference to a model of professional identity development and communities of practice. Through examination of the perspectives of students, graduates and supervisors, this research demonstrates that role emerging placements facilitate occupational therapy students in becoming competent practitioners with a sense of identity based on the values of the profession.
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