Canadian OT students learn ropes in Cayman

| 02/03/2014

(CNS):Two Canadian occupational Therapy (OT) students have completed their eight week fieldwork experience in Cayman. Morgan Hall and Nikki Ross from Dalhousie University in Halifax, Nova Scotia, did the required 1027.5 hours of clinical fieldwork prior to their graduation at the Sunrise Adult Training Centre (SRC).The placements aim to cover different populations, worksites and service delivery models to enable students to become well-rounded practitioners. The ones who maintain high academic performance and show excellent professionalism get the chance to go overseas.

Philip Knowles, the OT Therapist at Sunrise is the Fieldwork Preceptor with responsibility for supervising the students while they complete client assessments, develop programme activities for the OT Room, and run a Boundaries Group for two client groups. 

“When I initially proposed bringing students to Sunrise, it was my intent that it would be a fantastic professional development opportunity for the students, and at the same time, we at Sunrise would benefit from the participation of these students in the development of our services to our clients,” Knowles said. “With the consent of the Ministry of Education, I organised and made arrangements with Dalhousie University for Morgan and Nikki to come to Cayman and I could not be happier with their contribution to our Occupational Therapy Department. They have embraced this opportunity with sincerity and enthusiasm and we have been blessed to have such wonderful professional students to work with our young adult Caymanians who face a variety of significantly challenging disabilities.”

Director of Sunrise Shari Smith explained this was the first time that Sunrise has hosted such a fieldwork partnership, and it is also a first for the Ministry in the area of OT.
“I am very grateful to Philip for all the time and work gone into putting this opportunity together. It allies strongly with our goal of increasing the level of professionalism offered through all services provided by SRC, and will assist with our organisational transition from a Recreational Day Programme to a Training and Supported Workshop model.”
Hall and Ross said they thoroughly enjoyed their time at Sunrise and in Cayman. 

“Travelling to the Cayman Islands for a student fieldwork placement has been an incredible opportunity,” said Hall. “I have had time to develop my knowledge and skills with a wonderful staff and group of clients at the Sunrise Adult Training Centre, as well as explore this beautiful country and culture. I would highly recommend this experience to other students.”

While Ross echoed her colleague’s sentiments saying her time at the Sunrise Adult Training Centre was wonderful with staff and clients being so welcoming. “I have really enjoyed learning about occupational therapy in an emerging practice setting and having the opportunity to explore the Cayman Islands," she added.

Hall and Ross are also shadowed other OTs within the Department of Education, at Lighthouse School and in the Early Intervention Programme.

Kimberly Voaden, Programme Manager at Sunrise and an OT who trained at a Canadian University explained the importance of fieldwork for an OT.  “As a former graduate of a Canadian Occupational Therapy university programme, I know how valuable fieldwork placements are for cementing classroom theory, providing essential hands-on practice with clients of all ages, and improving communication and clinical reasoning skills. Because Occupational Therapy is such a broad profession, fieldwork placements can be definitive in helping an OT student choose the area(s) in which they eventually want to focus their professional practice.

“I am so very pleased that SRC is able to be a part of these students’ learning and professional development, and am grateful for their diligence and enthusiasm on their placement. They have fit in well with our clients and staff, and their hard work, under Philip’s competent preceptorship, is helping to realize exciting new programme initiatives at SRC,” she said

Sunrise intends to continue developing this relationship with Dalhousie University School of Occupational Therapy and hopes to host additional fieldwork placements in the next training year.

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