Friday, February 22, 2019

The MOT Program Guide: What does it mean for fieldwork educators?

The Master of Occupational Therapy (MOT) program recently revised the MOT Program Guide (2018). The MOT Program Guide provides an overview of various aspects of the MOT Program, including the Professional Conceptual Framework (PCF) and Educational Conceptual Framework (ECF). Yes, more acronyms to add to our OT repertoire! The MOT Program Guide also frames and provides direction for all components of the MOT program.

As fieldwork educators, you play a vital role in sharing your knowledge and skills and providing the real world context to help your students apply these concepts in practice.
For a full description, here is a link to the MOT Program Guide on our webpage.  I should warn you though that this document is jam-packed with a lot of information. We recognize that as busy clinicians, it may seem like a daunting read, so our plan is to provide you with a condensed readers digest version of the MOT Program Guide. 
"Stay tuned" for a series of posts highlighting key elements of the guide and some quick tips for making links to fieldwork!  Leanne Leclair, OT Department Head & Associate Professor, will be contributing to these posts as a guest blogger.
Teresa & Leanne

Friday, January 25, 2019

Feedback- Keeping it manageable!

This tip relates to delivering feedback in “small and digestible quantities”. Here is a link to a post by Shari Harley that really speaks to this:  “When giving feedback, less is more” . It is a quick read and I think there are some natural links to providing feedback in a clinical situation:

·          I like how Shari compares planning a feedback conversation to packing for a trip; it is important not to “over pack” a conversation with too much information. This can cloud your message and depending on the student, it might feel uncomfortable or hard to process. 

·         The feedback conversation can go in many directions. Taking a few minutes to think about the specific behavior you are targeting can help to focus the conversation.

·         If you find yourself   becoming “long-winded”,  take a moment to pause and check in with your student to gather their perspective. This is a key step in understanding how they are receiving your feedback and ultimately how they are going to act on it.   For example:

o   “What do you think?”

o   “How do you feel about?”

o   “Do you agree with?”

For more tips on feedback, check out other posts under the “feedback” category of this blog.

As always, please feel free to contact us with any questions or concerns.


Tuesday, November 21, 2017

“What was helpful for my learning”: Thoughts from students after completing Basic Fieldwork 2016

Last year, after Basic Fieldwork was completed, I invited students to share their ideas about what was helpful for their learning while on placement, with the goal of sharing some of their quotes with OT Fieldwork Educators through this blog.  
Here is a glimpse of what some of our students had to say:   

  “…Talking through goals/expectations at the beginning of placement.  Also, receiving feedback as soon as possible after an interaction helped me grow.”

 "My educators were extremely supportive! They would encourage me to practice my new skills as much as possible and provided great feedback. Their constructive feedback gave me confidence in interacting with clients and made me eager for the opportunity to improve. The welcoming and supportive environment they created made me excited to go to fieldwork and made the entire experience very positive.”

 “They got the clients to engage with me directly, from the start, which helped me feel like an active participant.”

 “….the general welcoming environment of OTs and PTs…. especially with my educator, was really helpful in making me feel comfortable to ask questions and seek clarifications when needed.”

 “They also asked me for input when deliberating about clients and work, and I felt like I had something to bring to the table.”
“… I found it reassuring (especially in my first placement) that my fieldwork educators would first ask if I felt comfortable to engage with the clients alone or complete tasks individually.” 

 "My educator was gracious enough to let me know when she thought I had a good idea - even if it wasn't something she had thought of.  I found it helpful that the relationship we had built allowed me to ask questions of her that might challenge her a bit, too.” 

 “My fieldwork educator would check-in with me to see if I felt comfortable with the amount of independence I was given and if I had further questions.  I appreciated having an input on pace.”

 “…they gave me the opportunity to share my thoughts and opinions after we had seen a client. In addition, they would ask me questions to stimulate critical thinking and understanding.”

 “…I found that debriefing after every client encounter (sharing observations, noticeable improvements, recent chart note from another healthcare provider regarding client status, etc.) even just for a minute, was really helpful in my learning as it allowed me to get a glimpse of what my educator observed/was looking for and how my educator used her clinical reasoning and/or experience.” 

“My educator and I would "debrief"  (whenever possible) after we'd seen a client.  She would ask me leading questions as to what I thought was going on, what I saw as far as OPIs and what might be a suitable intervention, etc.  It encouraged me to think aloud and allowed her to get inside my brain as well.  She could high five the correct insights, tweak the ones that were off, and redirect the ones that were misguided.”

The above quotes highlight some of the wonderful ways in which educators make students feel comfortable in their first placement experience, and begin to foster their clinical reasoning and learning.
Whether you are a “seasoned” or “first time fieldwork educator”, perhaps one of these quotes will resonate with you in a way that validates what you are doing or sparks new ideas for you to consider.

Thanks to the Class of 2018 for providing this feedback to share!  

Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Does that really meet my expectations?

This tip was originally inspired a year ago after chatting with an educator shortly after midterm.  I think what I heard from her was that she had a little of voice inside her asking "did that really meet my expectations"?

I've heard this story many times before.  We want to give the benefit of the doubt.  We're worried about the consequence of giving a "2" on our evaluation.  We're not sure if it's that big of a deal.  But something just doesn't feel right giving a "meeting expectations" when your gut feeling is that he/she isn't.

While I know in many cases students can make improvements and meet your expectations by final without specifically targeting the area, some students need a stronger cue to specifically work on an area in order to meet your expectations at final.

So what do you do?

·        Be very clear (and as soon as possible) that even though he/she received a “3/meets expectations” at midterm, that your expectations will be rising for final.  So simply doing as he/she has been doing will no longer be enough—he/she must actively work towards making improvements.

·         Ask the student to create an action plan for meeting the expectation.  Students get experience with this develop professional development plans in the program (and this is practice for real life as those who just submitted PDPs know).  You might have a few suggestions as well.  You may even want to involve us in helping the student.

Here are a couple of common examples I have heard over the years:

You have outlined some things for the student to complete (journal reflection, intervention plan, creating a resource list etc), however the student doesn’t seem to be taking the initiative to follow through.  It isn’t until you remind him or specifically ask for it again that there is follow through, which may even be after the deadline you originally gave.  (So in this case it might fit best under C.1. Demonstrated ability to assume responsibility for working with clients and to carry out assigned duties).


You have a student who is very shy.  While she is very polite and responds to questions, she rarely initiates conversations with you and you have not observed her talking with other team members even communication with clients is minimal. (In this case it might fit best under B.11 Initiated communication with fieldwork educator(s), other staff and clients as indicated by the situation)

·         Share your observation with the student:
“I’m noticing that….”

·         Let him/her know the implications of her not initiating communication.
“This behaviour might be interpreted as…..” or “The impact this might have on your practice is…..”

·         Let him/her know what your expectation is for final (what would meeting expectations look like) and link it directly back to the evaluation
“By final I expect that you will….. in order to meet the expectations for the for this section of the evaluation”

·         Much like for a client, have the student create an action plan to meet this as a goal. 
“I would like you create an action plan for how you plan to meet this goal” (It is fine to expect this to be done outside of fieldwork hours).  You might have some suggestions here on some strategies.

·         Make this a priority area to provide feedback
It will be important that the student is receiving feedback specific to these areas along the way so there is no “guessing” involved.  That said, ensure that you continue to focus on their strengths too!

As always, let me know if you have any comments or questions.  Lisa