Date Presented 04/01/2022

Practice and educational trends have forced OT practitioner programs to consider developing creative Level I fieldwork models to support student learning and application of the OT process, including faculty-led fieldwork (FLFW). This presentation will describe a case-study research study designed to explore perspectives of OT educators implementing a FLFW model. The supports, challenges, and opportunities in implementing this unique FLFW model will be shared.

Primary Author and Speaker: Bailey Lundholm

Additional Authors and Speakers: Luke Baker, Andrea Zakrajsek

Contributing Authors: Melissa Peters

The purpose of this study is to explore the experiences of occupational therapy (OT) educators who have engaged in an OT Level I faculty-led fieldwork (FLFW) placement. The COVID-19 pandemic has forced OT programs to consider options for development of level I fieldwork experiences to support student learning and application of OT in context. Furthermore, there is an increasing necessity to secure level I OT fieldwork settings that branch away from the typical 1:1 apprenticeship model, as well as to increase professional focus on non-traditional practice settings. Therefore, a faculty-led, collaborative model may be a viable alternative for Level I fieldwork. The FLFW model offers many benefits to the field of OT, including: to OT and OTA students through provision of experiential learning, to the community by addressing occupational performance needs, and to program faculty in making connections between didactic in-class and applied learning (Keptner & Klein, 2019; Mattila & Dolhi, 2016). Although FLFW has been studied from the student perspective, there has been minimal research conducted to understand the OT educator perspective. To further enhance our understanding of the supports and barriers associated with a FLFW model, the guiding research question was as follows: what are the experiences of key stakeholders who have engaged in a Level I OT FLFW placement? This study follows a case study design (Merriam & Tisdell, 2016) in which the bounded system encompassed one Master’s of Occupational Therapy (MOT) program, and a particular population, OT educators. The case study approach was useful in an in-depth exploration of educator experiences of leading and implementing Level I FLFW experiences. For this study, in-depth individual interviews were conducted with five OT educators (four instructors and one academic fieldwork coordinator), each lasting about one hour. Participants were recruited via email; inclusion criteria consisted of being an OT educator at one university with experience in leading or coordinating a Level I FLFW experience. Interviews were conducted virtually via Zoom and followed a semi-structured format consisting of open-ended questions that were posed to explore the experiences of these OT educators in the FLFW experience. Following each interview, both student researchers wrote fieldnotes that included observational, methodological, theoretical, and personal notes. With participant consent, interviews were audio recorded and transcribed initially by a third party transcription software. To ensure accuracy, one researcher read through each transcription while following the audio recording to modify the transcript as necessary. Analysis was completed using the Collaborative Constant Comparative qualitative analysis process (Richards & Hemphill, 2018), and consisted of open and axial coding by student researchers, consensus generation in order to develop an evolving codebook to consistently analyze data and generate categories and emerging themes. Emerging themes contribute to an understanding of the case study of this Level I FLFW approach and include: positive impact on key stakeholders, role of educator in faculty-led practice, standardized and intentional approach to faculty-led model, and challenges and opportunities for improvement. The findings of this study contribute to an understanding of FLFW approaches by exploring the perspectives of educators who facilitate the model.

IMPACT STATEMENT: Project findings offer implications for the development of faculty-led fieldwork experiences, including supports and challenges to consider, as well as opportunities. Future research will include studying the perspectives of students and other stakeholders within case study methodology.


Merriam, S.B., & Tisdell, E. J. (2016). Qualitative research: A guide to design and implementation (4th ed.). John Wiley & Sons, Inc.

Richards, K. A. R. & Hemphill, M. A. (2018). A practical guide to collaborative qualitative data analysis. Journal of Teaching in Physical Education, 37(2), 225-231.

Keptner, K. M., & Klein, S. M. (2019). Collaborative Learning in a Faculty-led Occupational Therapy Level I Fieldwork: A Case Study. Journal of Occupational Therapy Education, 3(3).

Mattila, A. M., & Dolhi, C. (2016). Transformative experience of master of occupational therapy students in a non-traditional fieldwork setting. Occupational Therapy in Mental Health, 32(1), 16-31.