Well, this week marks the 7th week of my first occupational therapy Fieldwork II experience. The weeks have been flying by, I can’t believe I’m halfway done with this rotation! A while back, I shared some of my first thoughts about the experience (you can read that post here). I figured that I should probably give an update on how everything has been going for me at this point, so here goes!
Overall, I’d have to say things are going ok. I’m still pretty much uneasy most of the time, though I’m taking on more challenges each week and seem to be handling it all right. I’m treating a full caseload now (with support from my supervisor) and leading most of the evaluations. I’ve even treated two patients concurrently (at the same time), which is difficult! Once the day gets started, it tends to go pretty quickly–it’s very busy.
To be honest, most of the fieldwork blog posts or articles I’ve read out there have made me feel kind of lousy–either those students are magical unicorns who are just very confident, or they’re lying through their teeth (aka, faking it until you make it). The posts are all very upbeat and give advice like “take a notebook everywhere with you” and “impress your supervisor with a good attitude,” and while I wholeheartedly agree with the advice, I haven’t found Fieldwork to be all sunshine and giggles.
The honest truth is this: Fieldwork is hard. Every day I wake up with a sense of anxiety; what am I going to do with this patient today for 90 minutes? What if I have a really challenging evaluation? When I get there each morning, I try to pretend that I’m really calm and ready for the day when I’m mostly worried on the inside. Every day brings new challenges and new opportunities to learn. When I get home each night, I get a small feeling of relief that I have, indeed, survived another day. That relief lasts about an hour, when I realize I need to start planning for the next day as much as I can (most of my planning goes by the wayside the next day, as every patient is different each day and you just never know what they’re going to be capable of from one day to the next). It’s a totally different type of stress than school was, and while I’m so thankful for the opportunity and know that I’m learning so much, it’s not easy. I’m very fortunate, I have an amazingly patient and calm supervisor that is there to support me and guide me, and she offers helpful advice and critique that improves my practice.
Anyway, I’m rambling a lot. I just feel like it’s ok to share how I’m really feeling at the halfway point in my experience, and I hope that other students are sharing some of the same feelings (as much as I hope you’re all succeeding in your Fieldwork experiences, I find great comfort in having others that are also struggling). So that’s the honest truth about how it’s going. I’m just trying to keep my chin up and keep a positive attitude, and learn all that I can from the experience. I know that someday I’ll feel more confident in my knowledge and my abilities, and that I won’t feel like I’m under so much pressure at some point. Just keep swimming, am I right?