I remember those first day jitters at the beginning of each clinical rotation. It is nerve wrecking not knowing what your fieldwork educator will expect from you. While each of your rotations will present its own challenges and every fieldwork educator will have their unique style of teaching. Here are some of the things I did in order to make a good impression. These tips worked for me, maybe they will work for you too!

KNOW THE SETTING. Make sure to research the setting and population you will be working with. Learn what frames of references and interventions are most commonly used. Identify the deficits/challenges this population is faced with. This will provide you with an idea of what to review and read up on in order to make your orientation/training process easier. 

ASK QUESTIONS. While shadowing your clinical educator it is important to ask questions. This will give you the opportunity to interact with your educator and start a conversation in order to learn more about their prior experiences with different cases/situations. If you cannot think of a question, it is okay to ask a question you already know the answer to *wink wink. This will make it easier for you to feel comfortable asking in the future.

BUILD YOUR OT TOOL BOX. Fieldwork educators are a wealth of information. They usually have textbooks and references that they have accumulated through the years by attending continuing education courses or that have been passed down to them. Make sure to ask for resources and reading materials that you can add to your OT tool box for you to use as a practicing therapist. 

ADD VALUE. While you are at your setting observe and analyze the day to day. Identify an area or system that can be improved upon. Something that you can change or add to in order to provide some value to the setting. This can be a streamlined orientation binder for future students, a new storage solution for materials, or even a new DIY therapeutic activity to be used with patients. 

GIVE THANKS. On the last week or your last day make sure to do something nice for your co-workers. Bring treats and/or write thank you notes to your co-workers, thanking them for their time and support through your learning experience. Remember these individuals can become useful references when applying for your first job. 

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