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Graduates' reflections on their preparation for practice

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New graduates are the life blood of the occupational therapy profession. It is important that they are equipped to practise in the current health care environment and are confident about their professional contribution. This New Zealand study explored new graduates' perceptions of how well they had been prepared for practice, using three focus groups of graduates from one occupational therapy programme. The findings confirmed that the biggest issues for new graduates were searching for role clarity, inadequate supervision, an insufficient grasp of skills and uncertainty in team responsibility, underpinned by a lack of confidence. Conversely, they felt confident about their ability to research and find information in response to gaps in their knowledge.

This study demonstrates that learning how to 'be' an occupational therapist is as important as receiving formal supervision, and suggests that learning how to contextualise and reconstruct knowledge is essential in preparation for graduation. The stressful situations experienced in the first months of practice could be minimised through opportunities to learn how to repackage knowledge, observe role models and have supervision that provides confirmation of plans and bridges the theory-practice divide.


Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: March 1, 2009

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 2012 Impact Factor for The British Journal of Occupational Therapy is 1.096.

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