What is it about?

The transition from student to occupational therapist for new graduates has been described as a period of extreme stress and anxiety; novice therapists enter a world that is new and complex upon starting clinical practice. The first locally-trained occupational therapists in Ghana worked autonomously and in a self-directed manner from their first year of practice in a country where occupational therapy had not been established. The study sought to explore the transition from student to clinician, made by the first cohort of locally trained occupational therapists in Ghana.

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Why is it important?

The complexity of transition into practice for new graduate occupational therapists suggests that making the transition from students to health professionals was more challenging for the first cohort of the occupational therapy programme in Ghana, as Ghana did not have existing occupational therapy services provided by trained occupational therapists. This group of new graduates did not have the opportunity to work under profession-specific direct supervision during their undergraduate fieldwork nor during their transition to practice. Findings from the study might provide a basis for understanding the relevance and responsiveness of the undergraduate occupational therapy curriculum in preparing new graduates for practice within the context of Ghana. Subsequent cohorts of occupational therapy students might be in a well-informed position on what to expect after school. This might prepare them better for transitioning to practice. In addition, since occupational therapy is relatively new in Ghana and West Africa, understanding the experiences of the first cohorts of occupational therapists trained in this sub-region might assist the program and curriculum planning of new occupational therapy undergraduate programmes within other African countries. Also, because data was collected in Ghana, the findings might be relevant to inform developments in occupational therapy education and practice in other low and middle-income countries. There is the possibility that the findings might elucidate aspects of the transition from students to clinicians that will have value in other countries as well. Also, findings might assist policy makers, employers and supervisors in providing adequate support and guidance for new graduates.

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This page is a summary of: Exploring the transition from student to health professional by the first cohort of locally trained occupational therapists in Ghana, Scandinavian Journal of Occupational Therapy, January 2021, Taylor & Francis, DOI: 10.1080/11038128.2020.1865448.
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