Barriers and Solutions to Fieldwork Education in Hand Therapy

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Study Design:Survey.Introduction:Fieldwork education is a vital component of training the next generation of CHTs. Barriers and solutions to fieldwork rotations in hand therapy are examined, as well as proposed solutions, including recommendations for student preparation.Purpose of the Study:This descriptive study examined barriers for certified hand therapist clinicians to accept students for clinical rotations and clinicians' preferences for student preparation before a rotation in a hand setting.Methods:A survey was developed, peer reviewed, and distributed using the electronic mailing list of the Hand Therapy Certification Commission via SurveyMonkey. Aggregate responses were analyzed to identify trends including barriers to student clinical rotations and recommendations for students to prepare for hand rotations.Results:A total of 2080 participants responded to the survey, representing a 37% response rate. Common logistical barriers were identified for accepting students such as limited clinical time and space. Many clinicians (32% agree and 8% strongly agree) also felt that the students lack the clinical knowledge to be successful. Areas of knowledge, skill set, and experience were surveyed for development before a clinical rotation in a hand setting. Most respondents (74%) reported increased likelihood of accepting a student with the recommended preparation. Novel qualitative responses to improve clinical experiences are presented as well.Discussion:Student preparation before a clinical rotation in a hand setting appears to be a significant barrier based on the survey results. Areas of recommended knowledge, skill set, and experience may serve to guide both formal and informal methods of student preparation before a hand-specific clinical rotation to facilitate knowledge translation from experienced certified hand therapists to the next generation.Conclusion:Although logistical barriers may be difficult to overcome, hand-specific preparation based on clinician' recommendations may facilitate student acceptance and success in hand specialty clinical rotations.Level of Evidence:N/A.

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