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South African Journal of Occupational Therapy

On-line version ISSN 2310-3833
Print version ISSN 0038-2337


VERMAAK, Mia Elsabie  and  NEL, Mariette. From paper to practice - academics and practitioners working together in enhancing the use of occupational therapy conceptual models. S. Afr. j. occup. ther. [online]. 2016, vol.46, n.3, pp.35-40. ISSN 2310-3833.

INTRODUCTION: Occupational therapy students are exposed to occupational therapy conceptual models in lectures, and are expected to practice application of these models during clinical fieldwork placements. During fieldwork, they are exposed to practitioners' approaches to the use of occupational therapy conceptual models, and are often confronted with a gap between theory and practice. The objective of this study was to investigate the use of conceptual models by occupational therapy practitioners in the Free State, South Africa, to inform collaborative efforts in the process of reinforcing the link between theory and practice, by enhancing the use of occupational therapy conceptual models. METHODS: A cross sectional study was done in two phases: by means of a questionnaire survey, with practitioners responsible for fieldwork supervision of students; and a workshop survey completed by practitioners attending a workshop on occupational therapy models. RESULTS: Results in the first phase describe the perceptions of 22 supervising practitioners around occupational therapy conceptual models; and their own and students' application thereof in practice. These results were used as the basis to design a workshop on the application of occupational therapy conceptual models. In the second phase, workshop survey questionnaires completed by 20 participants, indicated that they perceived the workshop as enabling with regard to applying new occupational therapy conceptual models with more confidence and competence, and that they felt more confident to supervise students in applying occupational therapy conceptual models during fieldwork. CONCLUSION: This study and its resulting workshop show how collaboration between practitioners and academics can improve the link between theory and practice, benefiting practitioners' professional identity and ultimately impacting on undergraduate training.

Keywords : Occupational therapy; occupational therapy conceptual models; occupational therapy practitioners supervising students; theory practice link; fieldwork education.

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