Toward a Better Understanding of Fieldwork Requirements in Recreation(al) Therapy/Therapeutic Recreation Education

Authors

  • Brent L. Hawkins University of North Carolina Wilmington
  • Kirstin L. Whitely Longwood University
  • Susan Purrington Northern Arizona University
  • Erik Luvaas University of Idaho
  • Gena Bell Vargas Temple University
  • Emma Bentley-Gottel University of North Carolina Wilmington

DOI:

https://doi.org/10.18666/TRJ-2023-V57-I3-12000

Keywords:

Fieldwork, Recreational therapy/therapeutic recreation, education, academic preparation, professional preparation

Abstract

An important aspect of preparing students for Recreation(al) Therapy/Therapeutic Recreation (RT) professional practice is fieldwork education. In this study, fieldwork education was defined as a learning opportunity for RT students to develop practice competencies through hands-on experiences in applied RT service settings. Previous research has indicated the unanimous desire of stakeholders within the profession to improve the quality and consistency of RT education, particularly regarding fieldwork education experiences. This three-part study sought to develop a better understanding of the scope of RT fieldwork education within and across RT academic programs. Using a cross-sectional survey of academic programs, this study found that various types, amounts, guiding frameworks, and structures of fieldwork experiences existed. This article discusses implications such as the need for a guiding framework or model beyond following the minimum credentialing requirements, increased consistency of support provided by program faculty and staff, improved accreditation standards related to fieldwork, and how a consensus from the field on adoption of accreditation requirements could support consistency of fieldwork education.

 

Author Biographies

Brent L. Hawkins, University of North Carolina Wilmington

Brent L. Hawkins is an Associate Professor and the Coordinator of the Recreation Therapy degree program at the University of North Carolina Wilmington. 

Kirstin L. Whitely, Longwood University

Kirstin L. Whitely is an Assistant Professor of Therapeutic Recreation in the Department of Health, Recreation, and Kinesiology in the College of Education, Health, and Human Services at Longwood University in Farmville, Virginia. 

Susan Purrington, Northern Arizona University

Susan Purrington is an Assistant Teaching Professor in the Parks and Recreation Management program at Northern Arizona University in Flagstaff, Arizona.

Erik Luvaas, University of Idaho

Erik Luvaas is a Clinical Assistant Professor in the College of Education, Health and Human Sciences and Director of the Interdisciplinary Training Program at the Center on Disabilities and Human Development at University of Idaho in Moscow, Idaho.

Gena Bell Vargas, Temple University

Gena Bell Vargas is an Associate Professor of Instruction and Graduate Program Director for the Recreational Therapy Program at Temple University in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Emma Bentley-Gottel, University of North Carolina Wilmington

Emma Bentley-Gottel is an undergraduate Recreation Therapy student at the University of North Carolina Wilmington

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Published

2023-08-24