New graduate employment in New Zealand: The Influence of fieldwork experiences
Keller, Susanne Elizabeth
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This research, of a qualitative descriptive design, examined the link between occupational therapy student fieldwork experiences and subsequent recruitment to the same setting. Literature reviewed identifies that a positive fieldwork experience has a positive influence on recruitment to either that same setting or that line of work. However no related research is from New Zealand and none fully qualitatively explores the issue of student fieldwork experience and subsequent recruitment. Questionnaires were sent to 31 final placement students and six were returned completed. Four students were selected for semi-structured interviews. The interviews were tape-recorded and transcribed verbatim. Data were analysed using content analysis with eight themes and related subthemes identified. From the results three major findings emerged that directly relate to fieldwork experience and later recruitment: the spirit of teams; respect and value of occupational therapy; and the quality of the supervisor and supervision. Five minor findings that related to the research questions were: location; social, emotional aspects; career building – grounding; type of practice; and benefit to the employer. One minor finding not related to the research question was around the fieldwork models of supervision. Two of the major findings around the influence of teams, and respect and value of occupational therapy in a setting are previously relatively unreported in current literature. Recommendations are made relating to the findings of this research. Utilising these recommendations could help employers, occupational therapy schools and occupational therapists in practice, be better employers, educators, recruiters and colleagues, especially in times of occupational therapy skill shortage.
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