Academic Fieldwork (LIIFW) Coordinator:

Jennifer Kaldenberg, MSA, OTR/L, SCLV, FAOTA 617-353-2728

Clinical Education Office:

Joan Gentile Phone: 617-353-7526; Fax: 617-358-3475

Students begin the Level II Fieldwork (SAR-OT593 and SAR-OT594) component of the program after completing the four semesters of academic coursework. A minimum of 24 weeks of occupational therapy internship, which are typically completed in two 12-week full-time placements, is required for graduation from the program. Generally, students opt to plan their fieldwork placements to occur in either the summer and fall semesters or the fall and spring semesters, upon the completion of academic coursework. Optional specialty or third placements may be scheduled in any area of practice. All degree requirements, including fieldwork, must be completed within five years from initial matriculation into the professional program.

During the first year of the program, students are oriented to the fieldwork components of the curriculum during the fall semester, participating in the SAR-OT589 Orientation to Practice course. Students complete and submit applications for placements made by the Academic Fieldwork Coordinator at training facilities that have offered to sponsor a student from BU. When possible, Level II Fieldwork assignments are completed by the end of the first year of the program. Training must be completed at a facility that has a formal affiliation with the University. The BU program has contracts with approximately 250 such active training sites across the United States.

With regard to costs and budget, it is important to recognize that Level II Fieldwork is an unpaid, full-time commitment. It is advisable for students to outline a long-term budget in anticipation of making Level II Fieldwork plans, determining costs such as housing, transportation, and social support. Students are considered “full-time enrolled” during participation in Level II Fieldwork and are therefore eligible for financial aid and loan deferral. A one-time Field Experience Fee is paid during the second year of the program to cover the fieldwork degree requirements. Students do not pay tuition while interning.

Level II Fieldwork provides students with an in-depth, supervised experience in delivering occupational therapy services to clients, focusing on the application of meaningful occupation and research, administration, and management of occupational therapy services. It is recommended that each student gain exposure to a variety of clients across the lifespan and to a variety of settings. Exposure to client populations is generally categorized by settings that serve individuals across the lifespan, including children (pediatrics) and adults with mental health/psychiatric needs or physical disabilities. Examples of the types of fieldwork facilities include: acute care and rehabilitation hospitals, skilled nursing facilities, schools, private practice agencies, and community agencies (such as early intervention programs).

The American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA) website provides answers to students about fieldwork requirements, supervision, grading, difficulties with supervisors, failing, unfair treatment, accommodations for a disability, and international fieldwork.  For more information, visit the AOTA website.

Boston University’s general objectives for the fieldwork experience are identified below. These objectives are in keeping with the vision, mission, philosophy, and curriculum design of our occupational therapy program. Students are expected to meet these general objectives as they apply to the particular fieldwork setting to which they have been assigned. The general objectives are:

  1. To participate actively in the supervisory process, using it as a tool for consolidating and synthesizing knowledge, improving skills, and promoting professional growth.
  2. To develop increasing competence in the selection and administration of assessment instruments and in evaluating, interpreting, and documenting the occupational needs of individuals and groups.
  3. To plan, implement, and justify, orally and in writing, an intervention and discharge plan consistent with: evaluation results, the individual or group’s essential roles, the theoretical model(s) applicable to the fieldwork setting, and evidence-based practice.
  4. To articulate and model client-centered, occupation-based practice applicable to the fieldwork setting, focusing on how psychosocial factors influence engagement in occupation and the development of client-centered, meaningful, occupation-based outcomes.
  5. To work collaboratively with clients, families, and colleagues in a professional context, respecting diverse social/cultural values and practices.
  6. To demonstrate personal responsibility for continued learning by initiating independent study and accessing appropriate resources, such as professional organizations, related literature, and related websites.
  7. To demonstrate an awareness of and a concern for social and health care issues as these influence individual clients and their families as well as the community at large.
  8. To practice ethical reasoning in clinical decision making, service delivery, and professional relationships in accordance with the AOTA Code of Ethics.
  9. To envision ways that an occupational therapist could develop programs in the community to support, maintain, and promote occupational performance and well-being as they pertain to the population at the fieldwork setting.
  10. To achieve an effective transition from the role of a student to the role of an entry-level occupational therapist.

SAR-OT590 Fieldwork Seminar covers these objectives, along with fieldwork performance evalution procedures and other relevant topics during the spring semester of the second year of the professional program.

The fieldwork coordinator remains in contact with students and training sites, serving as a support for problem solving, as needed, throughout students’ participation in Level II Fieldwork.