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New Graduates' Experiences of Learning to Practise Occupational Therapy

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This article presents findings from a qualitative study of six occupational therapists in the first year of their career, with a focus on the experience of transition and how beginning practitioners learn about doing practice. An initial interview was conducted with each participant in the third to fifth months of practice. The participants then maintained a journal for one month. A second interview was held with each participant in the eighth to tenth months of practice, which explored the learning experiences documented in the journals and changes in knowledge and skills since beginning practice.

The transitional experiences of the participants revealed that they were challenged by their limited practical experience, the responsibilities of client care, system issues and role uncertainty. The support of colleagues and peers was critical to their learning and eased their adjustment from student to occupational therapist. The relationship with clients was particularly valuable to the participants' learning and professional identity. Recommendations to bridge academic and clinical settings and ease the transition from student to therapist are proposed.

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: November 1, 2006

More about this publication?
  • The British Journal of Occupational Therapy (BJOT) is the official journal of the College of Occupational Therapists. Its purpose is to publish articles relevant to theory, practice, research, education and management in occupational therapy internationally.

    BJOT publishes research articles, critical reviews, practice analyses, opinion pieces, editorials, letters to the editor, book reviews and an annual index. Please refer to the author's guide at http://www.cot.co.uk/british-journal-bjot/british-journal-occupational-therapy

    Submissions can be made at http://mc.manuscriptcentral.com/bjot

    The 2013 Impact Factor for The British Journal of Occupational Therapy is 0.897.

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