Entry-Level Competencies

The Fieldwork Performance Evaluation Forms are designed to measure entry-level competency. Each site should develop site specific objectives in order to help evaluate and monitor the student's progress. As you read through the Fieldwork Performance Evaluation Form (FWPE) try to use this as a guide.

Fundamentals of Practice consists of the students adhering to ethics, safety regulations and using judgment in safety. Examples of this performance area:

  • Consistently follows universal precautions
  • Consistently secures sharp objects appropriately

Basic Tenets consists of the student articulating the values and beliefs of the OT profession, communicating the roles of the OT and OTA, and collaborating with others in the OT process. Examples of this performance area:

  • Explains clearly how occupational therapy can benefit a person's quality of life
  • Explains the use of occupation during treatment
  • Incorporates client's goals into all treatment
  • Articulates the proposed role of the COTA at your site

Evaluation and Screening consists of the student articulating a clear and logical rational for evaluation, selecting relevant screening and assessment methods, assessing client factors, obtaining sufficient and necessary information, administering assessments, and adjusting the assessment procedures as needed. Examples of this performance area:

  • Clearly explains the sequence of his or her chosen evaluation methods and the rationale for the approach
  • Identifies the need for further testing
  • Gathers all significant information needed for evaluation
  • Accurately administers the assessment tools
  • Modifies the evaluation process as needed
  • Accurately interprets information from the evaluation
  • Provides rationale for treatment choice
  • Chooses the most appropriate evaluation tool
  • Accurately and reliably performs all testing, i.e. MMT, ROM, etc.

Try to identify where in the process the student’s thinking goes astray. You may ask them to map out their decision making and see if you can find out where the two of you diverge. This will help you at least make a recommendation to the student about what type of information they may need to review.

Intervention consists of the student articulating a clear and logical rationale for intervention, utilizing evidence, choosing occupations, selecting relevant occupations, implementing intervention plans that are client-centered and occupation-based, modifying task approaches, occupations, and environment, updating, modifying, or terminating the intervention plan as needed, and documenting a client's response in an appropriate manner. This is the how to component. It is the everyday carrying out of the tasks OTs do most often. Examples of this performance area:

  • Selects activities that are meaningful to the client
  • Encourages or showing patience with a client
  • Reviews the research literature to map out some criteria for making choices
  • Provides specific patient treatments with rationale
  • Demonstrates the discharge planning process
  • Conducts a group in which maximum participation is encouraged
  • Communicates with others by accurately completing progress notes
  • Works collaboratively with another professional during patient treatment and identifies rationale for treatment
  • Offers the client choices in the process

Management of OT Services consists of the student understanding costs and funding, accomplishing organizational goals, producing the volume of work required at site, and demonstrating the ability to practice, assign and collaborate with others. Examples of this performance area:

  • Describes the role of the OTA in one particular setting
  • Collaborates with the OTA or articulates the collaborative process needed to effectively update goals
  • Completes all paperwork in a timely manner
  • Coordinates client outings as needed
  • Carries an appropriate caseload as determined by the facility
  • Comes prepared and on time to meetings
  • Maintains productivity level as required by fieldwork site
  • Assists with patient coverage as needed

Communication consists of clearly and effectively communicating, producing clear and accurate documentation, written communication is legible and language is appropriate to the recipient. Examples of this performance area:

  • Completes all paperwork accurately and on time
  • Communicates within the audience's knowledge level
  • Asks for the supervisor’s advice or assistance when needed

Communication is also part of the therapeutic process. It usually involves the interpersonal communication between the student and someone else (client, supervisor, peer, other therapists, etc…). It is portrayed throughout the interaction process, verbally and non-verbally. Effective therapeutic use of self in OT involves showing others a professional composure that is genuine and warm, conveys that you are actively listening, and promotes the dignity of the client by treating them with utmost respect as a partner in the decision making process.

Professional Behaviors consists of collaborating with supervisor, taking responsibility for professional competence, responding constructively to feedback, demonstrating consistent work behaviors, effective time management, positive interpersonal skills, and respect for diversity. Examples of this performance area:

  • Takes feedback and incorporates into routine
  • Follows through appropriately with all assignments
  • Respects others' values and interests
  • Productive during "down time"
  • Follows through with all duties and responsibilities

Behaviors come from within and can fluctuate even in the best of us. Most students will lack confidence in their abilities and will need encouragement to develop their own style. Shy students may be perceived as not knowing if they do not volunteer information. Some students may lack assertiveness while others will cross the line and be aggressive rather than assertive. Research indicates that most OT students report very high levels of stress during their initial weeks of fieldwork (remember what starting a new job is like for you?). Stress can exacerbate insecurities, trigger tempers, or cause impulsivity and irritability. Specific feedback about inappropriate and appropriate behaviors is necessary for the students to learn and change themselves into more competent professionals and to develop the art of therapeutic use of self. Please provide prompt and objective feedback, in a one to one non-threatening manner to students. Appropriate professional behavior is expected of a student and the student should demonstrate enthusiasm for the profession, respect for other professionals and clients, engagement and interest in all aspects of the process, and a willingness to work and learn. Students should show a desire to improve themselves and become actively involved in that self-development process. Students should consider the needs of others and not just themselves.

Summary In closing, one issue some fieldwork supervisors report is having difficulty remembering what entry-level practice is. This may become more difficult as you gain more clinical expertise and experience. Use the objectives developed by your site as a guide for adequate performance as an entry-level therapist.

Costa, D. (2004) The essential guide to occupational therapy fieldwork education. Bethesda, MD: American Occupational Therapy Association.