Fieldwork & Capstone

What Is Fieldwork?

JWU’s OTD Fieldwork program matches students with a variety of placements both within Rhode Island and throughout the nation. Each student is assessed individually and placed based on strengths, interests, and geographical choice.

Fieldwork experiences provide opportunities to apply classroom knowledge about evaluation, direct treatment, advocacy, and research to real-life settings. Engagement in fieldwork experiences encourages students to exemplify the professional values and behaviors of leadership, integrity, and social consciousness that comply with the program’s goals.

Throughout fieldwork, students will refine their skills of observation, evaluation, implementation, communication and leadership while demonstrating the professionalism required of all entry-level doctorate students in the program.

Fieldwork sites are NOT selected with a lottery system and students should expect to be placed in at least one setting of their choice.

Level I/II Fieldwork

Level I Fieldwork
Level I fieldwork experiences provide an introduction to mental health, pediatric, adult and older adult populations. Some fieldwork experiences represent current practice, while others offer a glimpse into designing programs for the future of health care in community and population related work.

Each traditional and community fieldwork placement is complemented by a simulation experience in which faculty and students work together to problem solve real-life experiences in a safe space. This allows students to feel more comfortable when interacting with actual clients during the other components of fieldwork, and allows faculty to assess professional and practice skills in a supportive environment.

Level II Fieldwork
These two full time 12-week experiences allow students to enhance and develop skills as they emerge as an entry-level therapist.

Students are matched with a setting that both highlights their skills and challenges them to become a more proficient professionals and practitioners.

While Level I placements are generally in the Rhode Island area, Level II placements can be around the Northeast, or even nationwide. These placements offer students experience in a variety of emerging and traditional settings.

The university’s summer and fall Level II placements also allow for inter- and intra-professional experiences in settings that support creativity and leadership opportunities. Students will find JWU’s fieldwork experiences to be unique and challenging, all while anchored to a supportive environment with expert faculty and a customized approach.

Doctoral Capstone Project and Experience

Doctoral Capstone components are integrated into a curriculum that’s focused on interprofessional aspects of occupational therapy that bring the student outside the realm of healthcare and into a community rich with opportunity.

The doctoral capstone provides students opportunity to relate theory to practice and demonstrate synthesis of advanced knowledge in a practice area of student interest through completion of 14 weeks of full-time, community-based, supervised experience integrated with a culminating project.

In preparing for your doctoral capstone, you will complete a series of introductory capstone tasks as well as work closely with your capstone faculty mentor to define a problem that relates to occupational therapy and develop a plan to address it.

While some students may publish the findings of their capstone projects, all students will present their capstone results at a JWU research symposium at the end of the capstone semester.

Doctoral capstone may take place at sites such as outpatient mental health clinics, community gardens, homeless shelters, area agencies on aging, therapeutic riding centers, and charter or public schools.

In this course, students apply advanced knowledge to practice by integrating the doctoral capstone experiential learning and activities into a culminating doctoral capstone project.

This project demonstrates a synthesis of new, advanced knowledge learned in the program, the transformation of students’ views of the world of occupational therapy, and how it fits within the broader world. The capstone experience and project allows students graduating with the entry-level doctorate to develop advanced skills beyond a generalist level.

OTD Student Experiences ‘Humanity’ Through Butler Hospital Fieldwork

Molly Gould OTD ’24 recently put their learning into practice at Butler Hospital through an internship they’ll always remember.

For their second Level II fieldwork experience, Molly spent roughly three months at Butler doing mostly independent work as an OTD student.

“I was lucky enough to land the director of OT as my site supervisor, as we both held a mutual passion for working with the intellectual/developmental disability (IDD) population,” Molly shares. “This meant I was working on one of the two intensive care units where people with higher-level needs were placed.”

Read the full story here.

Molly Gould OTD '24 standing in front of the OCCUPATIONAL THERAPY program sign