Sydney Master of Occupational Therapy students gain practical experience on placement
A group of Master of Occupational Therapy students recently completed an eight-week placement in Broken Hill, a mining town in the the New South Wales outback.
The students worked with local children as part of the placement experience required for the two-year graduate entry master’s program.
Lydia Tu, who took part in the placement, said that being a part of a program that makes a difference in children’s lives is an experience she’ll never forget.
“Often children in Broken Hill can have developmental delays because of factors like exposure to lead in their environment. When this is coupled with a shortage in the health workforce, it can be very difficult for these children. It was great to work with the children and see immense improvements in them at the end of the program.”
“Fieldwork provides hands on experience with real clients in a supervised environment allowing students to combine academic study with the practical abilities required of the occupational therapy profession,” said Dr Merrolee Penman, Senior Lecturer of Workplace Integrated Learning at the Faculty of Health Sciences.
“The best part of the placement experience was working with the children,” said, Sharon Yi Heng. “It’s great to be able to watch the children develop the skills required for school performance, achieve their goals, and grow in confidence. It was such an amazing feeling and very rewarding.”
The focus on peer supervision throughout the placement period encouraged leadership skills and the opportunity to put their learning into practice in real-world situations.
“One of the most valuable experiences I had was the peer supervision. We had lots of autonomy, meaning we had to be very independent in making clinical decisions. I definitely learned how to think on my feet and be flexible in my therapy session plans,” said Sharon.
Occupational therapists work with their clients to overcome barriers that may be preventing them from participating more fully in life. This might involve teaching alternative techniques to achieve a given task, or facilitating improvement of skills. Occupational therapists collaborate with family and carers where needed, and typically work in teams with other health professionals.
“I had the opportunity to practice my clinical reasoning, and develop my own style of practice and approach which is really great,” said Lydia. “I have definitely gained some paediatric skills which include understanding some of the underlying factors that contribute to difficulties with handwriting, how to be creative and make things interesting to engage children, and how to communicate and be firm with children when needed.”
University of Sydney Master of Occupational Therapy
The Sydney Master of Occupational Therapy is very popular among Canadian students. During this two-year degree, you will cover a wide range of topics including theories of what people do in daily life and why; knowledge of the development of human capabilities (e.g., cognitive, motor, psychosocial) and the ways in which injury and illness typically disrupt them; activity and environmental analysis; and theories and techniques for promoting participation in daily life. As part of your studies, you will complete more 1,000 hours of clinical placements, providing the opportunity to apply your knowledge and gain hands-on experience with real clients.
Program: Master of Occupational Therapy (MOT)
Location: Lidcombe, (suburb of Sydney), New South Wales
Semester intake: March
Duration: 2 years
Application deadline: TBA. For the 2017 intake, the application deadline was September 30, 2016.
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