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Journal article

The practice education of occupational therapy students with disabilities: practice educators' perspectives

Authors:
HIRNETH Michael, MACKENZIE Lynette
Journal article citation:
British Journal of Occupational Therapy, 67(9), September 2004, pp.396-403.
Publisher:
College of Occupational Therapists

Practice educators play a key role in ensuring that disabled occupational therapy students are not excluded from educational experiences. However, little is known about how practice education for occupational therapy and other health professional students with disabilities can be facilitated effectively. A qualitative pilot study obtained phenomenological data from clinical practice educators. Stratified sampling was used to select 6 occupational therapists from throughout New South Wales, Australia, who had supervised students with a wide range of disabilities. Individual semi-structured interviews explored subjective experiences and strategies when supervising a disabled student. Participants often described the adoption of a 'therapist' role with these students. This was perceived as less effective than an 'educator' role in developing initiative and clinical reasoning skills. Participants identified the need for more support and education from universities and for improved evaluation strategies to accommodate students' needs while maintaining professional standards. To ensure positive practice education outcomes for disabled students, future undertakings should focus on developing collaboration between universities, students and practice educators.

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