Supporting the mature Occupational Therapy student: an investigation into the support systems available for non-traditional Occupational Therapy students in Wales
Cogger, Nina Jane
University of Wales lnstitute Cardiff
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This study is a critical evaluation of the support systems available for nontraditional (mature) occupational therapy students on the part time and full time educational programmes in Wales. Mature students normally have to balance their studies with the demands of family and work life, and studies have found that there is a likelihood that some mature students may experience family problems, relationship breakdowns and ill health with themselves or relatives. This study investigates how students are supported both academically and personally through their studies. The approach adopted in this study predominantly took an ethnographic, qualitative, naturalistic approach, as it examined the viewpoint of the participants. Ninety-eight students took part in a questionnaire from all the programmes, and eight part time students were involved in a group interview. Twenty staff (academic and non-academic) also completed a questionnaire, and documentary information from staff/student meeting minutes, curriculum documents and students personal files was investigated. Although most of the data was taken from the perspective of the part-time students, it was found that mature students in the occupational therapy programmes in Wales, are subject to pressures and commitments from families, work and ill health, but they do use a variety of support systems both within and outside the university. The occupational therapy education staff play an integral role as personal tutors, however, students are proactive in seeking out other means by which to support themselves.
MA Pcet Education
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