Level II Fieldwork
Goals, Purpose, and Overview of Level II Fieldwork:
The goal and purpose of Level II fieldwork is to develop competent, entry-level, generalist occupational therapists. Level II Fieldwork is integral to this program’s curriculum design and includes an in-depth experience in delivering occupational therapy services to clients, focusing on the application of purposeful and meaningful occupation and research, administration, and management of occupational therapy services. Students will be exposed to a variety of clients across the life span and to a variety of settings (ACOTE Standards, 2018). Students are encouraged to complete Level II Fieldwork in general rehab/hospital-based/traditional setting and in a specialty, a community-based, or an emerging setting to prepare for successful completion of the national certification exam and to facilitate well-roundedness as entry-level practitioners. The information below provides an overview of the kinds of agencies typically identified in both settings:
Level II Fieldwork provides students with structured experiences and progressive levels of accountability and responsibility to apply and integrate the knowledge and theoretical concepts related to human performance and the subsystems which allow function to occur. Level II Fieldwork is a culmination of all previous coursework and gives meaning through practical application of the occupational therapy process. Level II Fieldwork is designed to promote clinical reasoning and reflective practice; to transmit the values and beliefs that enable the application of ethics related to the profession; to communicate and model professionalism as a developmental process and a career responsibility; and to develop and expand a repertoire of occupational therapy evaluation, assessments, intervention planning, treatment/interventions, and outcomes assessment related to human performance. Professional level skills in communication, critical reasoning, leadership, implementation of the occupational therapy process and professional accountability must be demonstrated to successfully complete the fieldwork assignment.
The role of the Level II Fieldwork student is initially observer and participant, but the student will quickly increase performance and competence thus transitioning to an entry level practitioner of occupational therapy (in his/her fieldwork setting) by the end of the experience. During Level II Fieldwork, the Academic Fieldwork Director will communicate with both the student and the supervising therapist at scheduled intervals and on an "as needed" basis. Students must maintain ongoing communication with the ASOT Academic Fieldwork Director. To this end, each student is responsible for accessing Spalding University's Portal and online learning platform, Canvas, in order to obtain course materials and online assignments. All students are required to maintain a working Spalding email address during each Level II Fieldwork, no matter their fieldwork agency's and/or housing location.
Fieldwork Educators for Level II Fieldwork experiences must be currently licensed or otherwise regulated occupational therapists with a minimum of one year full-time (or its equivalent) of practice experience subsequent to initial certification and are adequately prepared to serve as Fieldwork Educators (ACOTE Standard C.1.11.). The supervising therapist may be engaged by the fieldwork site or by the educational program (i.e. ASOT). If Level II Fieldwork occurs in a setting where no occupational therapy services exist, such as a community-based agency, the fieldwork experience will include a documented plan for provision of occupational therapy services and supervision by a currently licensed or otherwise regulated occupational therapist with at least 3 years’ full-time (or its equivalent) of professional experience. Supervision will include a minimum of 8 hours of direct supervision each week of the fieldwork experience, and the occupational therapy supervisor must be available via a variety of contact methods to the student during all working hours. An on-site supervisor designee of another profession must be assigned while the occupational therapist supervisor is off site (ACOTE Standard C.1.14.).
At this time, ASOT has no fieldwork agency partners beyond the United States of America. Should ASOT decide to pursue this avenue of fieldwork education, students must be supervised by an occupational therapist who graduated from a program approved by the World Federation of Occupational Therapists and has 1 year of experience in practice (ACOTE Standard C.1.16.).
Students will complete a minimum of 24 weeks, full-time Level II Fieldwork at their fieldwork agencies. However, this may be completed on a part-time basis, as defined by the fieldwork placement in accordance with the fieldwork placement's usual and customary personnel policies, as long as it is at least 50% of an FTE at that site (ACOTE Standard C.1.10.).
In support of this standard and per this program’s curriculum design, students will perform two, full-time 12-week Level II Fieldwork experiences (or the equivalent thereof) for a minimum of 480 hours for each Level II Fieldwork experience. These Level II Fieldwork experiences are strategically designed to occur after successful completion of all foundational classes and all Level I Fieldwork experiences. Both Level II Fieldwork courses require the application of occupational therapy theory, utilizing the occupational therapy process, for the duration of both 12 week, supervised experiences. Students may not complete both fieldwork experiences in the same type of agency. A 24-week fieldwork placement is an option and must be approved by the department Chair; it must be reflective of more than one practice area, or a maximum of four different settings (ACOTE Standard C.1.10.). Students must adhere to all policies and procedures within the Level II Fieldwork site during the duration of the program. Level II Fieldwork courses are:
• OT 830, Level II A
• OT 840, Level II B
A grade for University credit is calculated by the Academic Fieldwork Director based upon 1) assessment of skill acquired as evaluated by the Fieldwork Educator(s) using the AOTA fieldwork education evaluation system and 2) scores earned on assignments related to the fieldwork course. The Academic Fieldwork Director is the Instructor of Record for all fieldwork courses, and is ultimately responsible for awarding the grade earned by the student. Successful completion of all classes prior to OT 830 is prerequisite for engaging in Level II A Fieldwork; successful completion of OT 830 is prerequisite for engaging in OT 840, Level II B Fieldwork. In order to register for the last two trimesters of the doctoral program of study courses in the third year of the curriculum, a minimum of one (1) Level II Fieldwork must be successfully completed. Upon successful completion of both Level II Fieldwork experiences, students return to campus to complete 1 trimester of course work focusing on leadership/management and research, followed by 1 trimester of Capstone experience completion prior to graduation.
Student/Fieldwork Agency Matching Process:
ASOT students will begin the Level II Fieldwork selection process during trimesters 3 and 4 of the curriculum by choosing their top 3 choices for Level II A and Level II B and completing a Level II Fieldwork Preference Form. In addition to identifying their fieldwork agency preferences on this form, students are encouraged to provide information regarding unique, individual circumstances that might be impacted by the Level II Fieldwork experiences. Students will provide their signature which formally completes the preference form and indicates the understanding that they must accept the assigned fieldwork agencies assigned by ASOT faculty.
Students are matched with fieldwork agencies based on student agency preferences, student personal circumstances, student strengths and opportunities for growth, and faculty's knowledge of the demands and expectations of hosting fieldwork agencies. This information will be reviewed and considered prior to final placements. The faculty maintain the responsibility for final Level II fieldwork placement decisions in order to meet the learning objectives of the course, ACOTE standards, and interests of all parties involved. The agencies listed on the preference form are student requests only, and there is no guarantee that students will be placed in these requested sites.
In compliance with ACOTE standards, ASOT's didactic and fieldwork curriculum must "educate [students] as generalists with broad exposure to the delivery models and systems used in settings where occupational therapy is currently practiced and where it is emerging as a service" (2018 ACOTE Standards). Students will not be matched with agencies where they will have completed a Level I fieldwork experience. On extreme, rare, and/or extenuating circumstances, faculty maintain the discretion and authority to match students with agencies where they previously completed Level I fieldwork in consideration of student success during the Level II fieldwork experience and/or operational circumstances present at the fieldwork agency about which faculty have been made aware. These instances will be discussed on a case-by-case basis only.
Final placement decisions are typically communicated to students approximately 5 to 6 months prior to starting the first Level II Fieldwork assignment. All students may expect to be matched with at least one Level II Fieldwork agency outside of the Louisville-Metropolitan area. Students are encouraged to explore living arrangements with friends/family/student peers, at local college campuses, short-term apartments/extended stay facilities, Airbnb rentals, and through the Area Health Education Center (AHEC).
Upon communication of Level II Fieldwork placements, students will begin making plans to accommodate their personal circumstances for successful completion of their assigned fieldwork experiences. Students are responsible for the arrangement and cost of living, housing, transportation, and additional fieldwork agency-specific required checks/tests/screenings to fulfill obligations for completing the assigned fieldwork experiences. Students are solely responsible for any deposits that may be forfeited in the event of Level II Fieldwork placement cancellations.
Students must be aware that fieldwork placements are subject to change at any time due to agency-specific or extenuating ASOT circumstances. Level II Fieldwork placements may be altered or cancelled at any time before or during fieldwork due to changing circumstances at the hosting fieldwork agency or at the informed discretion of the Academic Fieldwork Director in consultation with this program’s faculty. In some circumstances, fieldwork agencies may require an interview with the student prior to formally committing to host the student for his/her Level II Fieldwork experience. However, no changes in assigned fieldwork placements will be made for the student’s personal reasons or life circumstances. If a student refuses the assigned Level II Fieldwork experiences and/or does not procure living/housing/transportation arrangements, these actions will result in automatic administrative withdrawal from the Level II Fieldwork course and will be postponed until the course is offered again with the next cohort. Should this occur, the student's Level II Fieldwork preferences will be considered last after all other students’ preferences in the cohort of which s/he would become a student.
Formal Level II Fieldwork orientation is scheduled at the end of trimester 5 of the curriculum. Topics covered during orientation include: what to expect during 12 weeks of Level II Fieldwork; tips/strategies for success; understanding one's own temperament/learning/leading styles and needs and how to meet those needs; professional accountability; syllabus/objectives/assignments; review of the information contained in this student manual. In addition, students will also schedule a mandatory meeting with their faculty advisors to assist with preparation for their Level II Fieldwork experiences.
REQUIRED TEXTS AND RESOURCES:
1. Spalding University Auerbach School of Occupational Therapy Student Handbook
2. Conners, R., Smith, T., Hickman, C., (1994). The Oz Principle, Getting Through Individual and Organizational Accountability. New York, NY: Portfolio. (ISBN: 978-1-59184-024-4)
3. AOTA Practice Framework, 4th Edition
4. State Laws/Regulations in which the Level II Fieldwork experience will occur
5. Spalding University Portal for access to Library research tools and Moodle on-line learning platform
1. Napier, B. (2011). Occupational Therapy Fieldwork Survival Guide, A Student Planner, 2nd edition. Bethesda, MD: AOTA Press. (ISBN: 978-1-56900-292-6)
2. Any texts required throughout the ASOT curriculum
3. Peer-reviewed journals as needed
According to ACOTE Standards, Level II Fieldwork requires a minimum of 24 weeks full-time experience in order to be able to qualify for the national certification examination. All Level II Fieldwork experiences must be completed within 24 months of completing the occupational therapy academic course preparation. For this program, Level II A Fieldwork occurs during trimester 6, and Level II B Fieldwork occurs during trimester 7 in the curriculum. All students will complete a minimum of 12 weeks for each Level II Fieldwork experience and complete a minimum of 480 hours for each Level II Fieldwork experience (equivalent of 8 hours per day, 5 days per week for 12 weeks). Only the time students are physically at the respective fieldwork sites will count toward the 480 hour requirement. The only exception to the 480 hour ASOT minimum requirement is due to site-specific, extenuating circumstances that impact a student’s ability to complete this number of hours. However the student must exceed the minimum number of weeks at the agency to complete the maximum number of fieldwork hours possible prior to the next academic session beginning.
Students are expected to attend all assigned and scheduled fieldwork days. All planned and unplanned absences must be made up to ensure the 480 hour requirement is met. Tardiness and/or absences (planned or unplanned) from Level II Fieldwork MUST be communicated with the Fieldwork Educator and with the Academic Fieldwork Director. For unplanned absences and tardy arrivals, students must communicate with the Fieldwork Educator and with the Academic Fieldwork Director a minimum of one hour prior to the scheduled start time or per the agency policy, whichever the agency specifies.
Not following the above procedures for notifying the Fieldwork Educator of tardiness and/or absences may lead to and has led to immediate dismissal from fieldwork.
On occasion, unique schedules for fieldwork experiences may be arranged to best meet the operational needs of the fieldwork site; to accommodate extenuating personal circumstances of the student (must be communicated with and approved by Fieldwork Educator and the Academic Fieldwork Director in advance); to accommodate the curriculum design; and/or to provide students with rich clinical experiences. When this occurs, communication between all parties (student, Fieldwork Educator, Academic Fieldwork Director) will occur to agree on alternate dates for Level II Fieldwork experiences so as to provide adequate time for planning and implementation to meet the 480 hour requirement for each fieldwork experience. Breaks from fieldwork or Fieldwork Educator time away from the agency should be communicated to the student at the beginning of the fieldwork experience and is the responsibility of the student to make up any missed time if no other qualified OT is available to supervise the student when the Fieldwork Educator is absent.
Level II Fieldwork Withdrawal Policy:
An ASOT OTD student is allowed to withdraw from a course one time during their academic preparation. This includes personal reasons, as well as academic reasons. If a student needs to withdraw from a second course they will automatically be discharged from the program and will need to reapply in the subsequent year.
A student may withdraw from OT 830, Level II A Fieldwork, or OT 840, Level II B Fieldwork, through the end of the 10th week of the Level II Fieldwork experience but may not withdraw from both. If a student is unable to fulfill the required number of hours, is experiencing academic or personal difficulties impacting performance, and/or is demonstrating unprofessional behavior during either Level II Fieldwork experience, the Academic Fieldwork Director and/or the Fieldwork Educator may recommend withdrawal from the course and/or require that the Level 2 Fieldwork experience be terminated. The recommendation to withdraw from the course or to terminate the fieldwork experience may occur at any time before or during the Level II Fieldwork experience, but not after the 10th week. If a student receives an 81 or below on the midterm evaluation, the student should notify the Academic Fieldwork Director to schedule a meeting with the student and his/her Fieldwork Educator to determine if there is potential to earn a score of 111 or greater on the final AOTA evaluation or to determine if passing is not likely. At which point, if success is not likely, it will be recommended or required that the student withdraws from the course. As mentioned above, a withdrawal from a Level II Fieldwork experience may only occur once.
All students who withdraw from a Level II Fieldwork experience will be required to schedule a meeting in-person with the Academic Fieldwork Director, the Program Director and/or the student's faculty advisor to discuss events that led to student withdrawal, to design an action plan for how to facilitate success on the subsequent Level II Fieldwork experience(s), and to complete/sign required withdrawal documentation to include signing a Memorandum of Agreement and the University’s official course withdrawal form. If a student continues with a Level II Fieldwork despite recommendations to withdraw, it is the student’s responsibility to be accountable for the consequences of a failure in the course should it occur, which will lead to dismissal from the program. For more detail, see Professional Course Withdrawal Policy regarding withdrawal from a Level II Fieldwork.
Rescheduling a Level II Fieldwork Experience:
Typically, the academic program in occupational therapy is to be completed in 36 months. In selected personal circumstances, a student may require an altered time frame for the completion of program academic courses including fieldwork. In this instance, the Academic Fieldwork Director and/or faculty advisor in collaboration with the student and Program Chair may arrange an extended time frame for completion of the program of study. In such a case, fieldwork must be completed within 24 months of completion of other academic coursework, and if the student’s program of study is delayed, graduation will not occur on schedule and will impact degree conferral and graduation ceremony participation.
All students who withdraw from or cannot start a planned Level II Fieldwork experience for any reason will be rescheduled to complete the remedial/replacement Level II Fieldwork experience as determined by ASOT Administration (Program Chair, Academic Fieldwork Director, and Faculty Advisor). If a rescheduled Level II Fieldwork experience is planned to occur, the student will not be eligible to participate in University Graduation Ceremonies with his/her original cohort. At that time, the Academic Fieldwork Director will be responsible for assigning a placement for the student.
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