Objective. An exploratory study was conducted at the University of New Hampshire to increase the number of school-based fieldwork opportunities for occupational therapy students and to guide the development of a model for first-time fieldwork supervisors in schools.
Method. Responses to a questionnaire completed by 119 occupational therapists working in schools in northern New England provided a description of both school-based occupational therapy practice and of their needs as supervisors. Interviews with 12 occupational therapists who had supervised fieldwork students in schools provided qualitative information.
Results. Findings suggested that school-based practice issues such as working part time, traveling between schools, and using variety of service delivery models created particular challenges for fieldwork supervisors in schools. A process of addressing fieldwork supervisors’ concerns during recruitment and in a fieldwork supervisor seminar and providing on going support resulted in successful fieldwork experiences for occupational therapy students.
Discussion. This process of studying a practice setting in order to develop a model for fieldwork that addresses the uniqueness of the setting may be used to develop fieldwork opportunities in other practice settings as well.