Promoting academic-practice partnerships through students’ practice placement


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International Journal of Therapy and Rehabilitation;20 (1)


Mark Allen Healthcare

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Introduction: The notion of a gap between the academic and the practice segments of the occupational therapy profession is commonplace. The Scholarship of Practice is one of the collaboration models that have been introduced as possible means for bridging this gap, but so far, research based on this model has not extensively addressed the potential of students' clinical placement. Aim: With a view to possible remedies for the academic-practice gap, the purpose of this paper is to outline and discuss possible advantages from a collaborative project concerning the usefulness of the Assessment of Communication and Interaction Skills (ACIS) that was carried out between students, fieldwork educators, and university faculty. Outline of the project: Six occupational therapy students and their fieldwork educators collaborated in an exploration of the clinical usefulness of the ACIS during the students' second year mental health clinical placement. Experiences from the project were put into context with previous developments aimed at improving academic-practice partnerships. Discussion: The Scholarship of Practice model provides guidelines for reducing the research-practice gap in the occupational therapy profession. It is argued that the presented project adhered to the principles of practitioner-centredness and developing partnerships, whereas the creation of synergies was somewhat less realised. The organising of joint projects during practice placements, involving students, fieldwork educators, and university faculty, appears to be one method of increasing and improving relationships between the parties involved.


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