They also noted the benefits of having FWEs who demonstrate the following behaviors and supervision methods: They are welcoming and approachable, they provide clear expectations and regular feedback, they require students to increase their responsibility for caseload gradually, they model best practices, and they provide opportunities for collaboration.
Since the OTA students have fewer weeks of Level II FW, as compared to graduate level OT students, FWEs and academic fieldwork coordinators may wish to carefully consider opportunities to incorporate these learning experiences into Level II fieldwork programs to foster OTA students' development of clinical reasoning skills.
In addition, research on the FWEs' perceptions and a comparison between the perceptions of OT and OTA students would add to the profession's current body of knowledge regarding students' development of clinical reasoning skills.
It is clear from the OTA students' points of view that FWEs' behaviors and supervision methods are crucial to their learning.
As they developed stronger clinical skills, the participants expressed a desire for decreased dependency on the fieldwork educator (FWE), as reflected in the following statement: "I look forward to my upcoming weeks where I will take on more responsibilities and become more independent" (FWJ4, P10).
Experience of the FWE. Characteristics of the FWE were frequently described by the participants as a contributing factor to the development of their clinical reasoning skills.
There were over 120 references in the data regarding feedback, including written and verbal feedback, scheduled supervisory sessions, debriefing after treatment sessions, and FWE's use of probing questions.
On the one hand, all of the participants indicated the FWE engaged in storytelling and asked probing questions at least once during their Level II FW.
With the Air Force downsizing from a 38 fighter wing equivalent (FWE) force to a 20 FWE force, there is little doubt of problems ahead if the current pace of operations continues.
In 1992, the Congressional Budget Office estimated it costs approximately $370 million to maintain an active duty F-16 FWE and $300 million for a reserve F-16 FWE.
The bottom line is that a reduction to a 13 FWE force does not guarantee a surplus of qualified personnel for Guard assignments.
Further reductions below a 13 FWE force will cause the Air National Guard to assume an even greater share of the fighter peacetime contingency requirements.