Student Occupational Therapist Role Emerging Experiences: Where are they?

Role emerging practice placements are still in their genisis in the UK, however many of the UK and international Universities are offering these fieldwork placements to their students. Practice placement educators are consistently complaining of the demands in clinical practice and the number of placements provided for students are at crisis level. Role emerging placements can both offer a chance for the development and promotion of occupational therapy in non tradtional practice, and contribute to the prevention of placement crisis.

After researching the evidence base in search of the subjective, lived experiences of students who have undertaken these fieldwork placements, to my disappointment, few studies have been reported. Role emerging practice and the development of occupational therapy is an area of personal interest to me and of vital importance to the profession as a whole. Many research articles are asking occupational therapists to “step outside the box” and seek new areas of practice, and to actively encourage and excite students about occupational therapy and the prospect of role emerging practice. My question is why are Universities failing to report the lived experiences of students in these settings? These are of profound importance as they are an invaluable source of knowledge for role establishment and could offer encouragement to other students, and professionals!