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Preparing occupational therapy students for the realities of practice

Institution: University of Limerick

Background: Practice Education inductions are designed to prepare students for practice education, although little research is available on their effectiveness or perceived value. Studies into the effectiveness of practice education have shown students to be lacking critical skills, with students and practice educators calling for better preparation for practice (Rodger et al 2011).
Objectives: The purpose of this research was to discover occupational therapy students’ views on different aspects of the practice education induction in one university, to assist with improving induction programmes in future.
Methods: This qualitative study explored the practice education induction experiences of four occupational therapy students from the University of Limerick, through a focus group.
Results: Two themes were identified in the findings. The first was Enhancing Confidence: Positive outcomes of practice education induction; including the subthemes of practical knowledge, supportive atmosphere, positive expectations, and previous professional experience. The second theme identified was Continuing Uncertainty: Tailoring induction content to meet identified needs; which included the subthemes of reflective practice, concern over client interactions, professional interactions, and occupational therapy practice skills.
Conclusions: While the practice education induction provides a good general preparation for practice, participants felt that their previous professional experience had also contributed to their preparedness. Participants suggested that more time could be dedicated to developing professional interaction skills, reflective practice, and occupational therapy specific skills. If occupational therapy course developers create an efficacious practice education induction, it will potentially improve the practice education experience for students, practice educators, and subsequently improve levels of client care

Suggested citation:

. () Preparing occupational therapy students for the realities of practice [Online]. Available from: [Accessed: 17th June 2019].


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