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Clinical Education - Occupational Therapy

Fieldwork education at McGill University is an integrated part of the occupational therapy professional education program.  The objective of this program is to produce entry-level generalists ready for all domains of evolving occupational therapy practice.  The instruction students receive focuses on helping them become leaders in the field of occupational therapy by supporting the transfer of knowledge into the clinical setting and promoting the need to advocate for both clients and the profession at the system and policy level.

The fieldwork program itself seeks to provide increasingly complex opportunities of authentic and situated learning consistent with the student’s progressive acquisition of knowledge, problem solving and professional development.  The program fosters peer learning with the intent of applying this as a learning strategy in the student context and gradual promotion of mentoring as a professional behavior for occupational therapy practitioners.

 It is acknowledged that life-long learning is essential for professional growth, both of the individual student and the profession as a whole.  As such, this philosophy is woven through the clinical practica  courses as it is a competency that is taught and evaluated by our clinical supervisors.

As one of our second year students has aptly stated,

 “The rotations throughout the program are great experiences.  Those are the times when you actually get to apply what you have learned in theory during the semester and apply them to actual patients!!  You also get to interact with other health professions and learn how every discipline interacts closely with one another when addressing the needs of any patient.  “

or as put by a fellow classmate,

I really appreciate the opportunity we have to do placements elsewhere in Canada or around the world. . . . What an opportunity to develop my autonomy and to learn about myself!”

The clinical practicum courses are full-time, beginning in the summer term prior to M1. In all, four clinical courses (practica) (total: 28 credits) are interwoven into the professional curriculum. Clinical education courses take place in teaching facilities associated with McGill University. These may include the McGill teaching network and other affiliated hospitals, CLSC, CHSLD, private clinics, rehabilitation centres, schools, and industries.

In addition to the Montreal region facilities, a number of sites located across Canada and internationally are available upon request. The Occupational Therapy Program has developed specific guidelines pertaining to out-of-province and international practica, which follow the Committee of University Fieldwork Education (CUFE) Guidelines.

Clinical supervision is provided by an Occupational Therapist to assist the transition of the novice student to an entry-level practitioner. Clinical educators are encouraged to use a variety of models of supervision such as 1:1, 2:1 and 3:1 to enhance clinical reasoning through reciprocal peer coaching. In conjunction with the on-site practicum experience, web-based technology tools are available to facilitate the student’s learning. Clinical practicum experiences in different sites may vary according to the types of clients available.

Clinical Educators

Clinical teaching is a professional responsibility by all members to ensure that the new entrants to occupational therapy are ready to practice in a safe and autonomous way. Mentoring and educating students has many rewards including expanding your own practice knowledge. We are always looking to develop new learning opportunities in traditional and emerging areas of practice.


If I have a B. Sc. OT can I supervise a masters OT student?

Yes, experienced clinicians are the best mentors for students. Knowledge has exploded in the field but there is no replacement for experience.

Can I take a student if I am new to a program or service?

If you have at least one year's experience as a clinician, you are an excellent teacher for a student. No teacher is expected to have all the answers but should be willing to ask questions and share their own clinical reasoning process.

How many years experience do I need to supervise/teach occupational therapy students?

National accreditation guidelines expect that clinical educators will have a minimum of 1 years working experience. This can be in different sites.

How can I prepare to receive McGill occupational therapy students at my institution?

- All teaching sites are asked to complete the CGFE-OT: Canadian Guidelines for Fieldwork Education In occupational Therapy (CGFEOT) [.pdf]
- Or in French: Directives canadiennes sur la formation clinique en ergothérapie (DCFCE) [.pdf]
- As well we offer face to face and on-line teaching modules to develop clinical teaching skills
- Please refer to the website or contact Caroline Storr for more information

How do I know what courses the new students follow?

Please refer to the complete course guides in the Professional Masters section.


    Clinical Education experiences permit students to link theory to practice. Students are expected to demonstrate professionalism throughout their clinical practica.


    How can I find out more information on international placement opportunities?

    All this information is provided in OCC1546 and in term B during the clinical seminar in term B of U3/QY. The description of procedures is also detailed in OCC1501, 502, 503 and 602.

    Can I find my own clinical placements?

    No, learning opportunities are coordinated by Canadian university occupational therapy programs. Under no circumstances should students attempt to find their own clinical placements in Canada.

    How many hours/week am I expected to study during my clinical placement?

    Clinical placements are full time learning opportunities and students are expected to do preparation and background reading after clinic hours in order to become competent graduates.

    How do I register with the OEQ or apply for the CAOT exam?

    - Students need to contact the OEQ and/or the CAOT at least 6 months before graduation in order to initiate the process.
    - It is the student’s responsibility to follow-up with the OEQ and/or the CAOT to finalize all the requirements.