Learning from Today's Clinicians in Vocational Practice to Educate Tomorrow's Therapists
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BACKGROUND: In response to the demand for therapists and changes in vocational practice, a needs assessment was conducted to update an occupational therapy educational program. METHOD: Employing focus groups, interviews and questionnaires, 66 therapists from a wide range of graduating institutions working in vocational practice were asked to: a) identify the essential knowledge, skills and professional behaviours required for vocational practice; b) determine to what extent training is preparing students for vocational practice; and c) make recommendations for curriculum revision and/or for additional curriculum development. Participants and their jobs were profiled together with the challenges and issues of vocational practice. RESULTS: There was strong agreement among participants regarding what is required to practice effectively but disparate views concerning the extent they were prepared for practice. CLINICAL IMPLICATIONS: Recommendations were given for entry and postgraduate level curricula. Findings were compared to a past community practice survey. Implications for practicums, professional integrity and ethical issues were discussed.
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