University of Nebraska Medical Center

Community Experience

Community experiences begin in the second semester of the program. Two days per week in semesters 2-4 are reserved for learning experiences in the community.

Students participate in an Early Acute Service Experience (EASE) in which they work with an occupational therapist in an acute care hospital environment learning to manage equipment and communicate with patients and team members. In the Acute Care Treatment Sessions (ACTS), students have the opportunity to plan and implement occupational therapy intervention in the acute care setting under the supervision of an occupational therapist.

Fieldwork and capstone components of the curriculum provide students with opportunities to apply occupational therapy theories and techniques acquired during classroom instruction. They also offer opportunities to acquire knowledge, skills, and attitudes best learned through direct application. Fieldwork and capstone experiences provide a broad exposure to practice in a variety of settings and geographic locations.

Level I fieldwork takes place during semesters 2, 3, and 4, concurrent with didactic coursework. Level II fieldwork take place during semesters 5, 6, or 7, consisting of two full-time experiences of 12 weeks each. The capstone experience and project take place during semester 8, full-time for 14 weeks. Placements are scheduled in advance and are subject to change at the discretion of the site, the UNMC Academic Fieldwork Coordinator, or the UNMC Doctoral Capstone Coordinator.

Students must complete 24 weeks of Level II fieldwork as well as an individual 14-week capstone experience. The doctoral capstone experience and project must be started after completion of all coursework and Level II fieldwork as well as completion of preparatory activities. Each student is expected to complete all work (coursework, fieldwork, and capstone) for the OTD degree within 150% of the typical course of study (up to 12 semesters). This accounts for any leaves of absence and/or remediation.

Some sites may require a criminal background check and/or drug screening prior to the education experience. Students should anticipate expenses such as travel, site-specific requirements, and local living expenses in addition to program tuition.