The recognition of excellence in practice:a critical evaluation of the award of a credit grade in practice education for pre-registration occupational therapy students in Wales.
Clarke, Maria Lynette
University of Wales Institute, Cardiff.
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This study is a critical evaluation of the award of a credit grade for practice education available to pre-registration occupational therapy students in Wales. Practice education placements do not contribute to the students' final degree classification, so a mechanism that recognises excellence in clinical practice was introduced following revalidation in 2007. If students attain three or more credit grades for practice education, a Certificate of Excellence in Practice is awarded. A qualitative, interpretative approach with naturalistic features was adopted to explore the perceptions of pre-registration students and members of the Practice Education Team for Wales in relation to the value they place on the award of a credit grade. Sixty occupational therapy students from across the three Universities in Wales offering training returned self-administered questionnaires. Seven members of the Practice Education Team for Wales participated in semi-structured interviews. Findings from this study indicated that the majority of students do value the award of credit, but identifred issues that impact negatively on the attainment of the award. These related to the knowledge and practice of the clinical educators, lack of opportunity whilst undertaking practice placements and the moderation procedures and communication of the award employed by the Practice Education Team for Wales. Similar issues were identified by members of the Practice Education Team. A number of positive attributes in attaining the credit award were identified. Both groups identifred the value of the credit award for students, following graduation, when seeking employment. Recommendations for future practice include the review of current moderation procedures and consistent communication of the credit award. The need to undertake further research was also indicated to establish the value of the credit award held by future employing agencies, particularly as these views were not sought as part of this study.
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