A study of the experiences of new graduate occupational therapists employed in rural practice in Aotearoa, New Zealand
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Citation:Aiton, J. (2022). A study of the experiences of new graduate occupational therapists employed in rural practice in Aotearoa, New Zealand. (Unpublished document submitted in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Occupational Therapy). Otago Polytechnic, New Zealand. https://doi.org/10.34074/thes.5872
Permanent link to Research Bank record:https://hdl.handle.net/10652/5872
This study focused on "What are the experiences of new graduate occupational therapists working in rural practice in Aotearoa, New Zealand?" The research question was chosen to begin to address the lack of specific information regarding current experiences of new graduate occupational therapists working amid health reforms, varied service provision requirements and increased pressure to address inequities. Utilising a qualitative methodology and an interpretive descriptive approach, six participants were included in this study. Semi-structured interviews provided the raw data on which the findings were thematically analysed. The diversity and complexity of the role of a rural practitioner was a common theme which was discussed in the context of working in bicultural Aotearoa. The importance of being able to bounce ideas around in addition to formal support and supervision was another key theme. The process of recruitment and retention in hard to staff rural areas was also discussed alongside the need for resilience when working as a new graduate in rural practice. Although the sample size was small, there were both expected and unexpected outcomes. The generalist versus specialist debates continues alongside issues of role blurring and professional identity. Having opportunities to bounce ideas around was significant in addition to the importance of belonging and connection especially when subjected to significant change. Further research is indicated into the impacts of interprofessional education, interprofessional practice, rural generalism from an allied health perspective and support and supervision structures for new graduates in rural practice.
Keywords:New Zealand, rural, occupational therapists, new graduates, experiences, support, Aotearoa
ANZSRC Field of Research:420104 Occupational therapy, 420321 Rural and remote health services
Degree:Master of Occupational Therapy, Otago Polytechnic
Supervisors:Griffiths, Sian; Robinson, Rita
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