Student Qualities: Occupational Therapy Preceptors’ Perspectives

Karin Werther

Purpose: This study explored the qualities preceptors most valued in students during fieldwork placements and whether valued qualities change for different program areas or level of student placement.

Methods: Eleven occupational therapists working at a tertiary rehabilitation hospital participated in two separate focus groups to identify valued qualities. They categorized and rated qualities within the Competency Based Fieldwork Evaluation (CBFE), a common student fieldwork evaluation tool. Data were analyzed using thematic analysis.

Findings: Three main themes emerged. Of the 55 identified qualities, preceptors most valued ‘soft skills’. They were unable to fit five qualities (soft skills, confidence, self-esteem, attitude and awareness of boundaries) within the CBFE competencies. . The preceptors believe qualities remained consistent across different program areas and level of student placement.

Conclusion: Findings suggest a need for improvement in the current occupational therapy student evaluation process.