Are final yearoccupational therapy students prepared for clinical practice? A case study in Kwa Zulu Natal.

Deshini Naidoo, Jacqueline van Wyk, Robin Joubert


This study explores the perceptions of final year occupational therapy students at the University of KwaZulu Natal and their supervisors, regarding their preparedness to practice as well as their views about the efficacy of the undergraduate curriculum in accomplishing adequate levels of preparedness.

Method: A qualitative design using focus groups and semi-structured interviews with students and clinical supervisors to obtain their views and backed up by an analysis of relevant documents of the Health Professions Council of SA and the World Federation of Occupational Therapists, the outcome of which formed the conceptual framework guiding analysis of the data from the interviews and focus groups.

Results/findings: Both students and their supervisors felt they possessed adequate graduate competencies to prepare them for practice. Some concerns related to curriculum content, teaching methods, and relationships with lecturers and clinical supervisors emerged. Students’ level of professional confidence was directly influenced by their degree of enjoyment of the fieldwork practical and positive experiences related to this. Supervisors also reported that students display high levels of ethical awareness.

Conclusions: the findings provide insights into understanding the relevance of current occupational therapy training specifically at UKZN but also of relevance to the rest of South Africa.

Key words: Clinical competence, clinical supervisors, occupational therapy students


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ISSN 0038-2337 (print), ISSN 2310-3833 (online)

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