Occupational therapy students’ perceptions of the challenges they experience in adapting to a psychiatric fieldwork placement.
Soeker, Mogammad Shaheed
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Background: Mental health in Occupational Therapy is experiencing a decline in preference for practice. Aim: This study explored occupational therapy students’ perceptions of the challenges they experience in psychiatric fieldwork. Methods: The researcher used a qualitative research design and collected data by means of focus groups with 8 final year occupational therapy students and 1 interview with a key informant. Findings: Five themes emerged: 1) Listening but not hearing, 2) Boxed thinking 3) Helping hands, 4) Losing the training wheels: Gaining independence and 5) An ideal psych programme. Implications: The barriers to learning identified in this study should be eliminated and the facilitators encouraged. The study highlighted that all theory be taught in the class lectures before the students enter their fieldwork placement. It was also recommended that multimedia sources such a video clips or recorded treatment sessions be used in formal lectures in order to familiarise students to the reality of psychiatry.