Practice education: a snapshot from Australian university programmes

Gustafsson, Louise, Brown, Ted, McKinstry, Carol and Caine, Anne-Maree (2017) Practice education: a snapshot from Australian university programmes. Australian Occupational Therapy Journal, 64 2: 159-169. doi:10.1111/1440-1630.12337


Author Gustafsson, Louise
Brown, Ted
McKinstry, Carol
Caine, Anne-Maree
Title Practice education: a snapshot from Australian university programmes
Journal name Australian Occupational Therapy Journal   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 1440-1630
0045-0766
Publication date 2017-04-01
Year available 2016
Sub-type Article (original research)
DOI 10.1111/1440-1630.12337
Open Access Status Not yet assessed
Volume 64
Issue 2
Start page 159
End page 169
Total pages 11
Place of publication Richmond, VIC, Australia
Publisher Wiley-Blackwell Publishing Asia
Language eng
Subject 3609 Occupational Therapy
Abstract Background/aim: Practice education is an integral component of the learning process for occupational therapy students. The dramatic increase in Australian occupational therapy programmes and students enrolled over the last decade is placing exponential demands on universities and practice education providers to meet accreditation and registration requirements. This study aimed to explore practice education from the perspectives of Australian occupational therapy university programmes. Methods: A purpose-designed survey was emailed to the heads of all Australian occupational therapy programmes. The survey gathered qualitative and quantitative data on courses offered, number of students, practice education hours and models, practice education administration and funding, and challenges for stakeholders. All data were summarised and are presented descriptively. Results: Responses were received from 21 (95.5%) Australian university occupational therapy programmes, with a total enrolment of 5569 undergraduate and 659 graduate-entry masters students. Practice education hours were predominantly in the later years of study and used an apprenticeship model for supervision. There was a trend for observation, simulation and service-learning experiences to be placed in the early years of programmes. Participants reported that the increasing student numbers presented difficulties within the changing clinical contexts. There was a call to re-examine the 1000-hour requirement for practice education. Conclusion: Practice education is a critical issue for Australian occupational therapy. Increasing student numbers place mounting financial and resource demands on education programmes and practice education providers. There is a need for a national, collaborative approach to develop guidelines and processes to ensure sustainability relating to practice education.
Formatted abstract
Background/aim: Practice education is an integral component of the learning process for occupational therapy students. The dramatic increase in Australian occupational therapy programmes and students enrolled over the last decade is placing exponential demands on universities and practice education providers to meet accreditation and registration requirements. This study aimed to explore practice education from the perspectives of Australian occupational therapy university programmes.

Methods: A purpose-designed survey was emailed to the heads of all Australian occupational therapy programmes. The survey gathered qualitative and quantitative data on courses offered, number of students, practice education hours and models, practice education administration and funding, and challenges for stakeholders. All data were summarised and are presented descriptively.

Results: Responses were received from 21 (95.5%) Australian university occupational therapy programmes, with a total enrolment of 5569 undergraduate and 659 graduate-entry masters students. Practice education hours were predominantly in the later years of study and used an apprenticeship model for supervision. There was a trend for observation, simulation and service-learning experiences to be placed in the early years of programmes. Participants reported that the increasing student numbers presented difficulties within the changing clinical contexts. There was a call to re-examine the 1000-hour requirement for practice education.

Conclusion: Practice education is a critical issue for Australian occupational therapy. Increasing student numbers place mounting financial and resource demands on education programmes and practice education providers. There is a need for a national, collaborative approach to develop guidelines and processes to ensure sustainability relating to practice education.
Keyword Fieldwork
Graduate-entry masters
Occupational therapy
Placements
Practice education
Regulation
Students
Undergraduate
Q-Index Code C1
Q-Index Status Provisional Code
Institutional Status UQ

Document type: Journal Article
Sub-type: Article (original research)
Collections: HERDC Pre-Audit
School of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences Publications
 
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