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15 Feb 2017

Level II FW Blog: Winter 2017 by Courtney Pitts

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Level II FW Blog: Winter 2017

Get excited for a fun and a learning-filled 8 weeks when you begin fieldwork II!

When I started, I was nervous about fieldwork, because I was placed at a pediatric outpatient clinic and I was not comfortable with kids. All I could think about was how I just needed to get through this and then I could look forward to my second Level II placement in geriatrics.

My mindset completely changed the minute I actually stepped into the clinic. The first week, I felt relatively comfortable with elementary aged children because I thought they were easier to talk to. Now as time has gone by, my favorite kids are two years to four year olds.

One of the biggest things I have learned through this experience is to “get comfortable with being uncomfortable”. You are going to be challenged by your fieldwork educator and at times it can be hard, but also remember this is the time that you are learning.

Going to class and reading textbooks of course gives you a foundation for fieldwork, but fieldwork gives you the opportunity to truly feel like an occupational therapy practitioner.

Second, remember that you are a student, you are learning, and it is okay to ask questions. This is something I went into fieldwork believing and it ultimately shows your fieldwork educator that you want to learn and that you are engaged. However, do not sell yourself short. You truly know more than you think you know when you go to fieldwork, especially after the first week.

During the second week at my clinic, my supervisor and I were ending a treatment with a child when my therapist said to me, “I want you to go pick out activities we will do with the next child and you lead that treatment session”. Immediately, the thoughts that were going through my head were: “Our schedule says I do not have to lead a treatment until week three”; “I have only met this child once”; “I am scared.” After I panicked, I changed my attitude and began to believe I would learn from the experience, regardless of how it went. It turned out amazing!

Don’t be afraid to challenge yourself and step out of your comfort zone.

Lastly, I recommend you get to know your fieldwork educator, why they chose to be an occupational therapist, what their passions are, and about experiences they have had through their years being an OT.

I am lucky. I was placed with an OT that I believe could not be a better fit for me! We are similar, down to the realization that we are both germ freaks and have to sanitize the tables after each child leaves. This has helped me adjust quicker to the clinic and I am able to comfortably tell her what I feel is challenging, what areas I would like to learn more about, and ask any question…… all day long.

My fieldwork educator knows that she challenges me because she wants to help me grow and she knows that I appreciate it, even if it is hard. I know we can discuss how I can improve my OT intervention, after each OT session!

-Courtney Pitts, OTAS

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