Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Science


Occupational Therapy


Dr. Thelma Sumsion

Second Advisor

Dr. E. Anne Kinsella

Third Advisor

Dr. Lynn Shaw


Recent changes in management structures and an increasing demand for health care workers have underscored the importance of and need for more effective orientation and training programs for professionals. Studies in the nursing literature suggest that mentoring and preceptor programs support the retention and improved satisfaction of new recruits. However, research on these programs and how they unfold in other disciplines such as occupational therapy is limited. To address this gap, an in-depth case study of the planning and implementation of a preceptor program for occupational therapists at a large acute care teaching hospital was undertaken. This case study comprised a detailed document review; in depth interviews with hospital leaders, program planners, preceptees and preceptors; participant observation; and focus groups. Data was analyzed for themes, using a progression of stages from simple, direct interpretation to more complex analysis. Findings produced a rich description of the program components and key themes in the planning and implementation of a preceptor program. Program components included orientation, clinical skills training and evaluation. The overarching themes interwoven throughout the implementation of this program were relationship and flexibility. These findings and the importance for occupational therapy, health care organizations and research into preceptor programs are elaborated.



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