Pediatric Clinic - OT Student
Stacy Landau, Occupational Therapy Student
Ithaca College, Ithaca New York
(9/23/05) One of my Level II fieldwork experiences was in a pediatric outpatient clinic affiliated with a large teaching hospital. I treated clients from 0 to 21 years of age with various diagnoses from cerebral palsy to weak hand strength.
One of the advantages of completing fieldwork in a sizeable facility is that you have the opportunity to observe other professions. I was able to observe physical therapy, speech-language pathology, physiatry, and nutrition, which definitely enhanced my view of the scope of practice of other professions.
Large facilities often have many therapists to work with, which provides students with exposure to different practice styles and approaches to therapy. A benefit of working in an outpatient facility is that clients often come for therapy for an extended period of time compared with working in an acute facility; therefore, you can see clients progress.
However, one of the problems I encountered while working in an outpatient clinic is that clients do not always show up for appointments, so you might have some downtime. But, downtime is not always negative when completing fieldwork, because it may give you extra time to write your daily notes, research diagnoses, or discuss your clients with your supervisor. Every type of setting has its advantages and disadvantages, but it's important to select a site that matches what is important to you; whether that is location, population, or size depends on the person.
Fieldwork is a learning experience that provides students with a chance to utilize all the tools they learned in school, so take advantage of all of the opportunities you can get at your site and have fun!