Introduction: Future workforce projections indicate growth in demand for occupational therapists (OTs). Currently, demand for placements exceeds offers in Queensland. Practice educators (PE) play a critical educational role in thedevelopment of a skilled OT workforce; many factors inﬂuence PE capacity to provide quality learning opportunities for students. With the introduction of new OT programs to Queensland, it is timely to review processes and direction of practice education across the state. Objectives: To investigate facilitators and barriers to building capacity for quality professional practice placements in Queensland and develop strategic priorities that address the needs of the profession. Method: Participants included OTs across Queensland, identiﬁed through multiple mailing lists. A link to a 33-item survey was emailed to approximately 1500 OTs. OTs were also invited to participate in hour-long focus groups at three regional locations and via videoconference. Results: Survey responses were received from 322 participants across a diverse range of workplace settings; ﬁve focus groups were held with 36 OTs. Analysis of responses identiﬁed a range of facilitators and barriers to practice education currently existing within the OT workforce. Strategic priorities to support sustainable and quality placements across Queensland have been established in response. Conclusion: Graduating adequate numbers of OTs to meet future demand is vital. Professional practice placements provide the link between theory and practice and are an essential curriculum component of developing competent occupational therapists. A clear understanding of statewide issues is vital in order to structure university processes and meet future demand.
26th Occupational Therapy Australia (OTA) National Conference and Exhibition: Changes, Challenges, Choices, Melbourne, Australia 1-3 July 2015
Australian Occupational Therapy Journal / Vol. 62, Supplement 1, pp.35