Recreation Therapy Internships from the Student Perspective
Keywords:experiential learning, internship, therapeutic recreation education, qualitative research, professional practice issues
Students seeking certification with the National Council on Therapeutic Recreation Certification (NCTRC) must complete an internship under the supervision of a Certified Therapeutic Recreation Specialist (CTRS) to meet eligibility requirements to write the certification examination. In this environment, students gain clinical experience and are expected to apply and further develop their skills and knowledge from the university classroom. The purpose of this study was to understand student perception of the internship experience. Seven alumni of the Bachelor of Recreation program (BREC or BRC) from Memorial University of Newfoundland and Labrador participated in active interviews designed to capture various aspects of their internship experiences. The interviews were audio-recorded, transcribed verbatim, and analyzed for themes. Findings were organized into three themes: growth as a professional; meaningful connections; and perceptions of learning. Overall, participants found active learning in an internship environment to be beneficial in terms of their professional preparedness.