Part 2: The Placement

Activity 2.2: An Intern’s Roles and Responsibilities

This activity begins with a statement of the roles and responsibilities of the various stakeholders in the field placement. There is a particular focus on the intern’s roles and responsibilities which is followed by a video clip of an intern introducing himself to a client. You are then asked to reflect on your reactions to the video clip.

Roles and Responsibilities

Translated and adapted from Villeneuve, L. (1995). Cahier d’encadrement du stage supervisé. Montreal: Editions Saint-Martin, p. 23-24.

Educational institution

Field site / clinical site


Coordinator, teacher or consultant

Student / intern

Coordinator or supervisor

Choice of placement

Familiarization with training program objectives

Determination of intervention focus and placement site

Placement project*

Pre-placement interview

Placement confirmation

Sees to application of norms and policies

Advises teachers and students of program objectives

Harmonizes expectations of program officers and placement facility

Creates bank of field/clinical sites referencing training program requirements

Verifies quality of support provided by placement site

Provides career guidance for students and helps them choose placement and training content

Preps student for pre-placement interview

Pairs student with a field supervisor

Forwards letter of agreement to placement facility

Learns about standards and policies

Chooses placement in light of program objectives

Prepares placement project (CV, objectives)

Informs supervisor of expectations: motivation, objectives and type of support desired

Justifies choices: intervention focus, field/ clinical site, supervisor

Has assignment confirmed

Learns about objectives, standards and policies

Checks consistency of stakeholders’ objectives before approving contract

Recruits and selects supervisors; sends roster of supervisors to educational institution

Checks quality of field/clinical site (human and material conditions, support resources)

Makes arrangements with own supervisor: lighter workload, time to spend supervising, institutional support, etc.

Presents placement project (aim, activities, type of supervision, schedule, etc.)

Takes note of student’s project; clarifies and adjusts as needed

Informs student of own concept of placement, intervention and supervision

Informs institution of pairing; forwards agreement

Placement Stages

Beginning of placement


Deals with problem situations

Contacts field or clinical site (about site and intervention focus)

Draws up learning contract

Tours site

Prepares supervisory conferences (files, materials required)

Engages in placement activities

Evaluates objectives and activities; adjusts if necessary

Participates in mid-term evaluation

Deals with problem situations

Supervisor welcomes student and explains standards, policies, vocation and intervention focus of field or clinical site

Helps draw up contract

Assigns cases

Prepares supervisory conferences; coaches student

Evaluates supervisor’s role and placement objectives and activities; adjusts if necessary


End-term evaluation and overall assessment

*The placement project is put together before or after the pre-placement interview, depending on the educational institution.

Receives comments from teacher and placement site officer on how process will unfold

Make summative evaluation of student

Receives supervisor’s and student’s reports

Closes files

Evaluates placement/ clinical experience

Hands in placement report, as well as journal, observation worksheets and recordings, if required

Guides student until files are transferred out; submits report and final evaluation


Supervisors sometimes tend to forget that students, too, have responsibilities in the supervisory process. To inform them about those responsibilities, it may be helpful to distribute guidelines (e.g. during orientation). Here are some general guidelines that pertain to observation and confidentiality as well.

General Expectations

The student should:

  • Be a dynamic learner and take responsibility for his or her learning experiences within the parameters set by the academic program and the field/clinical site.
  • Comply with the site’s policies and procedures.
  • Keep the supervisor informed of all relevant matters: difficulties encountered, planned interventions, outcomes, and so on.
  • Read relevant documents provided by the field/clinical site.
  • Promptly seek needed help from the proper source.
  • Read up on the population served by the field/clinical site.
  • Notify the supervisor upon going home at day’s end or leaving the department or unit for any length of time.
  • Be willing to stay a little later than planned in case of emergency.

Derived from Desrosiers et al. (1997)


The student should:

  • Arrive on time for the observation period, even if not moderating the session.
  • Address the client1 in a professional manner (indicating that he or she is a student and request permission to observe.
  • Observe the entire clinical session; stay until the end.
  • Refrain from performing other tasks (e.g. writing a report) during an observation session, unless the supervisor has given permission.
  • Always respect the patient’s right to confidentiality (see “Confidentiality” below).
  • Discuss the client in private with the clinician or person supervising the task at hand.
  • Refrain from disrupting the session or distracting the supervisor.
  • Refrain from contradicting or arguing with the supervisor in front of the client; discuss any disagreements after the session.
  • Improve his or her observation skills: observe not only the supervisor’s skills and attitudes, but also the client’s reactions, behaviours, signs and symptoms, etc.
  • Take observation notes about each client.
  • Prepare questions to ask the supervisor after the observation session.
  • Prepare for a case discussion with the supervisor, who may ask for hypotheses about the type of disorder the client has or offer suggestions about the next stage of treatment, for example.

Derived from Hegde & Davis (1999)

  1. We use the term “client” to mean patient and beneficiary as well.



The student should:

  • Discuss the client

    • using the client’s name only in discussions with the supervisor and the care staff directly involved or during clinical meetings (if really necessary).
  • Refrain from discussing the client

    • with other persons not associated with the field/clinical site;
    • in public places (e.g. cafeteria or elevator).
  • Refrain from mentioning the client’s name during classroom presentations or online communication (e.g. discussion forum).

Files, Clinical Information and Records

The student should:

  • Comply with field/clinical site policy regarding access to clinical files and reports (check-out and return).
  • Follow field/clinical site rules on the disclosure of clinical information.
  • Refrain from leaving patient reports, care or treatment plans and other written material unattended.
  • Refrain from taking clinical files home or removing pieces of information from them.
  • Obtain the client’s written consent before taping (video or audio) or photographing him or her.

Derived from Hegde & Davis (1999)

Video Clip: The Role of the Intern

Let’s Discuss

What are your thoughts about an intern’s roles and responsibilities? What about guidelines related to observation and confidentiality?

10 comments on “Activity 2.2: An Intern’s Roles and Responsibilities

  1. manels33 on

    The Intern is very familiar.
    His role is to respect the client, and this starts with the proper way to address him.
    Every field has policies about communication, and the Intern’s role is to learn them and to apply them.

  2. Marie-AnneLagendyk on

    Lack of professionalism. The student didn’t introduce himself properly ( said he was an OT but no name or specifying that he was a student) .He shouldn’t address the pt by his first name initially.

  3. Lisa.Arcobelli on

    Agree with above comments: too familiar, lack of professionalism, should have introduced himself as an OT student (not an OT), should not address patient by first name.

  4. Claude VA on

    La vidéo laisse supposer que l’étudiant connait mal son rôle de professionnel. Il serait pertinent de réviser avec lui les règles d’usage du milieu (se présenter avec nom et prénom, son titre réel: stagiaire en ergo, utiliser M. ou Mme avec le nom de famille).

  5. annamariaciv on

    I agree with the previous comments. I would also add that he briefly summarize the role of OT in this setting if it is the first time the client is receiving OT services.

Leave a comment