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At NUI Galway, we believe that the best learning takes place when you apply what you learn in a real world context. That's why many of our courses include work placements or community projects.
Work Based Learning
Practice education is a process of work based learning which involves a partnership between the practice educator and the student in the practice setting. All students are required to complete 1,000 hours of practice education successfully under the supervision of a qualified occupational therapist during the course. This is undertaken at the students own expense and may mean additional cost is incurred throughout the course.
The WFOT minimum standards (Hocking and Ness, 2002) require practice education experience to be present in all four years. In the NUI, Galway Programme, while the bulk of fieldwork takes place in years 2, 3 and 4, there is a one week observation placement at the end of year 1.
Aims of Practice Education
Practice education comprises a third of the Occupational Therapy course. It allows students to observe and practice in a variety of settings and to experience the future work environment. During practice education the student develops, demonstrates and achieves competence to practice and links theory to practice supporting the academic curriculum.
The experience provided in the placement should reflect the students’ level of training and competence. It will include active learning of Occupational Therapy practice under the supervision of a named qualified Occupational Therapist with at least one year clinical experience who is a designated practice educator.
Practice education aims to introduce the students to the culture of the occupational therapy profession and to enable them to become socialised into the profession. It facilitates the development and application of the knowledge, attitudes, values and skills needed for the execution of appropriate professional behaviours. It also gives the opportunity to practice under supervision, and be assessed on professional standards and behaviour, ethical practice and inter professional partnership.
The main aims of practice education are:
- to integrate theory, practice, ethics and values of occupational therapy;
- to apply knowledge, professional reasoning and professional behaviour within practice;
- to develop skills and attitudes in implementing the occupational therapy process;
- to promote professional competence;
- to work as an effective team member;
- to promote professional confidence;
- to provide opportunities for students to integrate theoretical and practical learning;
- to facilitate consolidation of student’s previous learning.
To achieve these aims, practice education for each student, across the degree programme will be organised so that it incorporates the following parameters as recommended by the Minimum Standards during the 1,000 hours:
- Diversity of personal factors including gender and ethnicity
- Diversity of health conditions
- Diversity of delivery systems
Other areas of diversity which may be included are:
- Individual, community and population approaches
- Emerging services.
(Hocking and Ness, 2003)
The academic and practice education curricula combine to from a complete educational programme which is designed to ensure that students develop and attain the abilities required of an occupational therapy student, to be eligible to qualify as a basic-grade occupational therapist.
During the course, students undertake 1,000 hours of practice education (i.e. clinical practice under the supervision of an experienced Occupational Therapist). At present, this takes place in four eight week blocks (one in in Semester 2 of Year 2, one in Semester 2 of Year 3 and the other two in Semester 1 of Year 4).
Students may be asked to undertake placements anywhere in Ireland.
Practice Education Handbook 2018-2019
|Practice Education Handbook Occupational Therapy|
|Documentaton for Students 2016-2017|
|Learning Contract (Appendix F)|
|Use of Study Time (Appendix K)|
|The Case Study Process (Appendix R)|
|Students Feedback to Occupational Therapy Practice Education Sites (Appendix O)|
Please Note: These forms can be completed electronically using Microsoft Word. To do this, please save the file to a location on your computer first before filling in the form fields. To move between form fields, please use the Tab key.
For further information on Practice Education at NUI Galway, please contact Ms. Carol Hills on (091) 495294.