The AFWCs skillfully pair students with settings that enhance their individual development from students to practitioners (AOTA, 2004).
AFWCs play an integral part in creating fieldwork experiences that not only enhance academic coursework for students, but also challenge the students to apply foundational skills in innovative ways and to enhance the knowledge of the supervising fieldwork educator.
The AFWCs participated in the survey over four-weeks.
AFWCs who offer fieldwork experiences in emerging areas of practice were then directed to four additional quantitative item questions and 12 qualitative questions.
A large percentage of the AFWCs who responded belonged to programs that offered master's level programs only (91%), while 11% belonged to doctoral level programs.
030) of the AFWCs reported that students do not easily understand the role of the occupational therapist in the early course of their programs (see Table 5).
The five most frequently used words to describe personal skills that emerge from the student as perceived by the AFWCs included confident, empathetic, communicator, organized, and flexible.
In addition to the AFWCs, the faculty as a whole is instrumental in creating collaborations within the department and across the community to expose students to emerging areas of practice.
In regard to students' own negative or limited perceptions regarding fieldwork placement in emerging areas of practice, the AFWCs responded, "Students sometimes have a difficult time seeing the fit for OT because of their limited experience.
However, the AFWCs were able to fully elaborate their perceptions in the qualitative responses and noted that although students may not be highly satisfied they are more readily able to articulate the essence of occupation while on emerging areas of practice fieldwork.
The AFWCs reported that students are developing a higher level of autonomy while on fieldwork in emerging areas of practice, which has the potential to increase their "readiness" to enter emerging areas of practice upon graduation.
Emerging areas of practice will need to be interwoven in both the doctoral and master's curriculum, as AFWCs perceive that students gain valuable professional skills far more during these experiences than during traditional experiences.