Four years after graduation : occupational therapists' work destinations and perceptions of preparedness for practice
Brockwell, Dione, Wielandt, Trish, & Clark, Michele J. (2009) Four years after graduation : occupational therapists' work destinations and perceptions of preparedness for practice. Australasian Journal Of Rural Health, 17(2), pp. 71-76.
Objective: The present study sought to identify the work destinations of graduates and ascertain their perceived preparedness for practice from a regional occupational therapy program, which had been specifically developed to support the health requirements of northern Australians by having an emphasis on rural practice. ----------
Design: Self-report questionnaires and semistructured in-depth telephone interviews. ----------
Participants: Graduates (n = 15) from the first cohort of occupational therapists from James Cook University, Queensland. ----------
Main outcome measure: The study enabled comparisons to be made between rural and urban based occupational therapists, while the semistructured interviews provided a deeper understanding of participants' experiences regarding their preparation for practice. ----------
Results: Demographic differences were noted between occupational therapists working in rural and urban settings. Rural therapists were predominantly younger and had worked in slightly more positions than their urban counterparts. The study also offered some insights into the value that therapists placed on the subjects taught during their undergraduate occupational therapy training, and had highlighted the differences in perceptions between therapists with rural experience and those with urban experience regarding the subjects that best prepared them for practice. Generally, rural therapists reported that all subjects included in the curriculum had equipped them well for practice. ----------
Conclusions: Findings suggest the need to undertake further research to determine the actual nature of rural practice, the personal characteristics of rural graduates and the experiences of students while on rural clinical placements.
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