Practice placement training for professionals mentoring occupational therapy students: a pioneering program in Kosovo
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The World Federation of Occupational Therapists (WFOT) requires occupational therapy (OT) students to successfully complete 1,000 hours of clinical practice experience (ENOTHE, 2000). To fulfill this requirement is a challenge for OT education programs, which are in their pioneering stage of development. A limited number of qualified occupational therapists poses a problem for the supervision of OT students during their practice placement service. This doctoral project proposes a training program for on-site health and education professionals who will mentor OT students. The training program can be applied to any role-emerging fieldwork sites for occupational therapy and other health professions. The contents of the training program are based on the needs of the environment. Evidence indicates that there is a lack of understanding of OT by the general and professional public in Kosovo (Bllaca, 2015; Krasniqi, 2016; Jakupi, 2017). Based on the review of evidence-based research, it is difficult to place students in role-emerging placements because of a lack of qualified direct on-site supervisors (Vermeulen, de Jongh and Hess, 2012); and that there is a need to develop on-site placement mentor training programs (Cooper & Raine, 2009). With adequate training, on-site placement supervisors can assess the professional development of OT students (Levy et al., 2009; Allison & Turpin, 2004). Based on the needs in Kosovo, the mentor training program will include education about occupational therapy, placement mentoring, OT practice competencies, communication strategies and documentation methods. The goals of the mentor training program are: 1. to qualify on-site practice mentors to assess the professional skills and behaviors of the OT student, 2. to provide students with effective direct guidance from a mentor during their fieldwork experience, 3. to raise awareness of the OT profession within the health and education professions, and 4. to increase the quality of health care services for individuals in the community through the provision of OT services by the students.
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