Glossary of Terms and Abbreviations

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International Fieldwork

Glossary Terms and Abbreviations


1. Provide a glossary of frequently used terms and abbreviations for students completing fieldworks in the United States.

2. Facilitate the learning process of frequently used terms and abbreviations for completing an international fieldworks in the United States.

Introduction: International fieldwork can be a daunting task, especially when unfamiliar terms and abbreviations are used frequently. This document is meant to assist students enrolled in an academic OT/OTA program outside of the United States who are planning to complete a fieldwork within the United States. It will assist these students in having a better understanding of terms and abbreviations that are frequently used in relation to fieldwork in the United States. Accompanying guides and documents should be reviewed for other essential elements to consider when planning an international fieldwork.

Glossary of Terms and Abbreviations

ACOTE – Accreditation Council for Occupational Therapy Education

ADA – Americans with Disabilities Act; civil rights law for “person with a disability”

CARF – Commission on Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities

CMS – Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services

Conditional reasoning – A blend of all forms of reasoning that includes responding to changing client conditions and anticipating different client outcomes (Tomlin et al.; Mattingly & Fleming).

Content reflection – Reflection on what occurred.

Cultural sensitivity – Sensitivity to diversity and multicultural issues.

Essential functions – Statements about skills and abilities that are necessary to function as a therapist in a specific context.

Ethical reasoning – A form of clinical reasoning that involves determining the best or “right” action to take to work through issues (Tomlinet al.; Mattingly & Fleming).

Evidence-based practice – The conscientious, explicit, and judicious use of the current best evidence (that is available) in making decisions about the care of individual patients (Sackett et. al., 1996).

Experiential learning – The meaning-making process of the individual’s direct experience where knowledge is continuously gained through both personal and environmental experiences.

Facilitator – A person who guides and directs students by asking questions, exploring opportunities, suggesting alternatives, and encouraging them to develop criteria to make informed choices.

FEAT – Fieldwork Experience Assessment Tool. Examines the interaction between the fieldwork environment, fieldwork educator, and fieldwork student (AOTA, 2001).

Feedback – Information given to indicate the level of competence that has been achieved in the performance of a task. Feedback can be positive or negative, depending on whether the task was completed well or not (Proctor, 1986).

FERPA – Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act is a federal law that protects the privacy of student education records.

FWEd – Fieldwork educator

FWPE – Fieldwork Performance Evaluation for Level II (AOTA, 2002).

HIPAA – Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act protects health insurance coverage for workers and their families when they change or lose their jobs, and requires the establishment of national standards for electronic health care transactions and national identifiers for providers, health insurance plans, and employers. It helps people keep their information private.

JCAHO – Joint Commission for Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations

Learning contract – Reactive process to address performance or behavior issues for struggling students.

Learning style – The characteristic ways in which individuals collect, organize, and transform data into useful information (Cross, 1976; Kolb, 1984).

Level I fieldwork – An introduction to the fieldwork experience; the opportunity to apply knowledge to practice and develop an understanding of the needs of clients.

Occupation-based intervention – Engagement in client-selected occupations that support and promote the client’s needs, interests, and participation and that will enable the client to engage in or resume engagement in occupations and participation in daily life (AOTA, 2008).

Preparatory methods – Interventions used in preparation for and concurrently with the client for engagement in purposeful or occupations-based interventions (AOTA, 2008).

Purposeful activity – Interventions that facilitate the skill development that will ultimately enhance occupational engagement or performance (AOTA, 2008).

Reasonable accommodations – A device, modification to the environment, or change in a task or activity that enables a person with a disability to successfully function in an environment (Costa, 2004).

SEFWE – Student Evaluation of the Fieldwork Experience for Level II.

Site Specific Objective – Statement that identifies entry-level competency expected of all students at a specific fieldwork site.

Student Learning Objective – A statement that identifies an educational outcome related to a student’s knowledge, skills, and attitudes (Bossers et. al., 2007).

Therapeutic use of self – The manner in which the practitioner uses themselves as a therapeutic tool (AOTA, 2008).


American Occupational Therapy Association. (2001). Fieldwork experience assessment tool. Retrieved March 17, 2014, from

Bossers, A., Bezzina, M., Hobson, S., Kinsella, A., MacPhail, A., Scurr, S., Moosa, T., Rolleman, L., Ferguson, K., DeLuca, S., Macnab, J., & Jenkins, K. (2007). Preceptor education program for health professionals and students (PEP). Retrieved from

Cross, K. (1976). Accent on learning. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.

Kanny, E. M., & Guralnick, S. (1995). Structuring fieldwork to enhance work with older adults. Conference abstracts and resources 1995 (pp. 151-152). Bethesda, MD: AOTA.

Kassam, R., Drynan, D., MacLeod, E., Neufeld, L., & Tidball, G. Strategies for resolving conflict. In E-tips for practice education. Retrieved March 17, 2014 from

Kolb, D. A. (1984). Experiential learning: Experience as the source of learning and development. New Jersey: Prentice-Hall.

Neher, J.O., Gordon, K.C., Meyer, B., & Stevens, N. (1992). A five-step “microskills” model of clinical teaching. Journal of the American Board of Family Practice, 5, 419-419-424.

Sackett D., Rosenberg, W., Gray, J. et al. (1996). Evidence-based medicine: What it is and what it isn’t. British Medical Journal, 312, 71-71-72.

Prepared by:

International Fieldwork Ad Hoc Committee for the Commission on Education (1/26/09).

Patricia Crist, PhD, OTR/L, FAOTA (Chair)—Duquesne University, PA

Naomi Greenberg, MPH, PhD, OTR—LaGuardia Community College, NY

Susan K. Meyers, EdD, OTR, Private Foundation, IN

Susan Mullholland M.Sc.(rehab), B.Sc.OT, OT©—University of Alberta

Patty Stutz-Tanenbaum, MS, OTR—Colorado State University, CO

Pamela Richardson, PhD, OTR/L, FAOTA—San Jose University, CA

Debra Tupe, MS, OTR—Columbia University, NY

Neil Harvison, PhD, OTR/L—AOTA Staff

Emerging Leaders Development Program Participant

Juleen Rodakowski, OTD, OTR/L


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