A Narrative Thematic Study of the Impact of International Placement Experience on Graduate Occupational Therapy Practice
Aim and Background: Globally, there is movement towards the internationalisation of allied health care. Many universities across the globe are offering international student placements as part of the movement to create therapists equipped to participate in a dynamic, borderless environment. This narrative study sought to contribute to the developing body of knowledge exploring these longer-term impacts. Design and Methods: Seven occupational therapy graduates who completed an international placement as part of their studies were recruited. Narrative data were gathered via in-depth semi-structured interviews, and thematically analysed by coding and grouping similar concepts to develop themes. Results: The overarching themes were the influence of international placement on participants’ paths and practice as therapists. Sub-themes included developing relationships, representing occupational therapy, working with interpreters, cultural sensitivity and empathy, reflective practice, resourcefulness and autonomy. Conclusion: The study identifies ongoing impact of international student placement on occupational therapy practice. Participants gained a rangeof experiences during their time overseas that has influenced their practice as therapists. Future studies would provide further knowledge to inform universities and students of the benefits of undertaking international student placements.
Keywords: international educational exchange, professional practice, professional competence
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