From student to therapist: Follow up of a first cohort of Bachelor of Occupational Therapy students Academic Article uri icon


  • AIM: This study aimed to investigate the perception of graduate students on their preparation for practice, at 7 months post graduation. METHOD: Using an anonymous postal questionnaire, 18 respondents (58% response rate) provided data on the nature of current employment, the experience as a graduate therapist, and perceptions of their undergraduate experience in preparing them for practice. RESULTS: Fifty percent of the respondents were practising in a rural environment. There was a significant positive relationship between respondents perception of their curriculum and fieldwork experiences and their preparation for practice (rho = 0.52, p < 0.05, and rho = 0.55, p < 0.05, respectively). Of the fieldwork experiences, respondents rated block placements as more beneficial to practice than non-traditional placements. However, a correlational analysis showed the non-traditional placement was significantly related to preparation for practice (rho = 0.54, p < 0.05). On a seven-point Likert scale, respondents rated themselves from 5.2 to 5.7 for perceived self-competence as a newly graduated practitioner with community-based graduates having the higher rating. Confidence in clinical decision-making was rated 5.0 to 5.6 with community-based graduates having higher rating. Respondents reported a positive perception that the undergraduate program prepared them to enter the workforce and practise as an occupational therapist (mean ratings 5.5 to 6.2). CONCLUSION: Respondents felt adequately prepared to enter the occupational therapy profession and workforce. Strengths and weaknesses in their preparation are discussed as well as the need for further research.

publication date

  • October 2009