The COVID-19 pandemic presented a tremendous challenge to clinical fieldwork. The McGill Occupational Therapy (OT) fieldwork coordinators needed to think outside of the box to figure out how to get occupational therapy student learners through the professional master’s program in a timely sequence for a healthcare system in need.
Group fieldwork models promote teamwork, self-directedness and communication as students learn from each other, and with each other. These models are representative of their future work environments. In recent years, the McGill University OT fieldwork faculty had tried to implement group learning models, sometimes called collaborative models, within the Quebec occupational therapy clinical teaching community with limited partner adoption.
Fortunately, this well-established group model approach, was initiated, embraced and customized with great interest by two major teaching partners during this challenging time:
- The Centre Intégré Universitaire de Santé et de Services Sociaux (CIUSSS) de l'Ouest-de-l'Île-de-Montréal with three long-term care installations: St. Anne’s Hospital, Centre d’Hébergement de Soins de Longue Durée (CHSLD) Lasalle, and CHSLD Grace Dart. These all had a focus on reconditioning/retraining residents in autonomy after prolonged isolation.
- The Montreal Children’s Hospital within the Montreal University Health Centre (MUHC) with a double innovative focus on both virtual care and wait-listed clients with Development Coordination Disorders (DCD).
Along with previous model implementations, these experiences reinforce our belief that group models can create more confident and reflective entry-level clinicians with superior teamwork skills who will lead our future workforce. We hope that the recent success of these group fieldwork models will lead to a wave of interest resulting in more group fieldwork model trial by other teaching partners.
Read more about these group fieldwork models, in the official published article available online at the Canadian Association of Occupational Therapists (CAOT) website or in its final version here.
Top photo: Four McGill student occupational therapists with their off-site occupational therapy supervisor Jacqueline Nguyen, Ste Anne's Hospital, Quebec.
About the authors:
Karen Falcicchio, erg., Faculty lecturer, Associate Academic coordinator of Clinical Education and Caroline Storr, MBA, erg, Associate Professor (Professional), Academic Coordinator of Clinical Education in Occupational Therapy at McGill University engage together in planning, teaching, managing, coordinating, and reviewing all related components of the student learning experience in the clinical courses. They also work on managing relationships with the clinical teaching community in order to prepare each occupational therapy graduate for professional licensure.