Independent Community Placements

Independent Community Placements (ICPs) have a long history within the University of Alberta Department of Occupational Therapy. ICPs offer students an extra-ordinary, but equivalent, opportunity for fieldwork learning as well as providing positive service contributions to our Alberta and Saskatchewan communities.

ICPs are 'role-emerging' placements during which students complete fieldwork at sites where an occupational therapist is not currently employed but there is a recognized need for occupation-centered programming and services. Students are involved in 1:1 interventions, client education, group interventions and assessment, linking with community resources, consultation and site staff education. fulfill the fieldwork requirements needed to graduate (community-based practice mostly focused on mental health) from the MScOT program.

ICPs occur at a variety of community sites primarily in Edmonton & area, but also occur in Calgary & area and Saskatoon.

Sites are selected session to session based on:

  • site availability
  • site content/caseload related to the level of placement

Students are selected based on:

  • genuine interest
  • eligibility including other placements completed during the MScOT program
  • previous personal and work/volunteer experiences related to the learning expectations at each level

Example sites:

  • Housing Programs and Shelters: Women's Emergency Accommodation Centre, Bissell Centre, Ambrose Place, The Lighthouse (Saskatoon), Inn from the Cold (Calgary)
  • Non-profit agencies supporting communities and individuals negotiating mental illness, poverty, marginalization: Boyle Street Community Services, Jasper Place Wellness Center, HIV Edmonton, George Spady Society
  • Agencies providing support and programming for specialized populations: Seniors Association of Greater Edmonton, AHS Continuing Care Psychiatric Consult Services, Prosper Place, Children's Cottage (Calgary), Camp Horizon (Bragg Creek).

Typically two students are placed at each ICP site to enable peer-assisted learning and mutual support which enriches their learning experience.

An on-site supervisor is assigned and available on a daily basis. The on-site supervisor is not an OT but will typically have an Allied Health background (e.g., social work, nursing, psychology, recreation, etc).

The Clinical Education Coordinator for Independent Community Placements (CECICP), or a designated Fieldwork Educator for Independent Community Placements (FEICP), employed by the University of Alberta MScOT fieldwork team, provides weekly and on-call OT supervision as well as hands-on teaching and consultation throughout the placement through a mentoring relationship.

ICPs offer students significant, valuable learning opportunities that promote independence & initiative while fostering personal & professional growth.

ICP students develop a real awareness of the people in our collective society who face disadvantage and disability as well as recognition of the environmental barriers these individuals have to overcome in order to improve their quality of life and assume more valued roles.

More Information and news articles about role-emerging placements:

How role-emerging placements compare to each other and contribute to occupational therapy practice: A national snapshot
Prosper Place Clubhouse: A mosaic of inclusion for recovery
UAlberta students host free walker clinic for Edmonton's inner city community
Bringing occupational therapy to Maskwacis through student fieldwork placements
More than just books: Bringing occupational therapy into the library