Exploring the transition from student to health professional by the first cohort of locally trained occupational therapists in Ghana

Eric Nkansah Opoku*, Lana van Niekerk, Lee-Ann Jacobs-Nzuzi Khuabi

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)
81 Downloads (Pure)

Abstract

Introduction:
The transition from student to occupational therapist for new graduates has been described as a period of extreme stress and anxiety; novice therapists enter a world that is new and complex upon starting clinical practice. The first locally-trained occupational therapists in Ghana worked autonomously and in a self-directed manner from their first year of practice in a country where occupational therapy had not been established. The study sought to explore the transition from student to clinician, made by the first cohort of locally trained occupational therapists in Ghana.

Methods: An interpretive phenomenology approach was used to explore participants’ experiences of their transition from occupational therapy students to clinicians in Ghana. Six participants were selected using purposive, maximum variation, sampling. Data were collected by means of in-depth interviews and analysed using an iterative, inductive approach.

Results: Four themes emerged: Being ‘new’ in a new profession, introducing occupational therapy into a new environment, Personal and professional competence, and ‘The future is bright’. New graduates found continued professional development activities, such as additional reading, seminars and conferences, essential for successful transition into practice.

Conclusion: The importance of supervision and mentorship was highlighted in the study. Explicit attention to factors that support assimilation of new graduates within health care facilities were highlighted. The importance of continued professional development in development of practice competencies was foregrounded. Strategies to facilitate multi-professional work were demonstrated.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)46-57
Number of pages12
JournalScandinavian Journal of Occupational Therapy
Volume29
Issue number1
Early online date21 Jan 2021
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2022

Keywords

  • career adjustment
  • clinical practice
  • clinical supervision
  • interpretive phenomenological analysis
  • mentorship
  • new graduate
  • novice health professional
  • occupational therapy
  • supervision

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