Core Performance Standards

It is the philosophy of the faculty of the Department of Occupational Therapy that there are certain core performance standards and/or essential tasks and functions of an entry-level occupational therapist. Therefore, it follows that in order to successfully progress and complete the master's degree program, students in occupational therapy must also possess or demonstrate the potential to develop these core performance essentials. It is acknowledged that certain sensory and motor deficits can be compensated for, and that a reasonable degree of accommodation can and should be provided. However, it is ultimately the student's responsibility to make certain that he/she can adequately perform the basic academic and clinical fieldwork requirements.

▼   General Abilities

To provide quality healthcare, the student is expected to possess functional use of the senses of vision, touch, hearing, taste, and smell. All data received by the senses must be integrated, analyzed and synthesized in a consistent and accurate manner. In addition, the individual is expected to possess the ability to perceive pain, pressure, temperature, position, equilibrium, and movement.

▼   Observational Ability

The student is expected to participate in and observe demonstrations and experiments in the basic sciences, including but not limited to physiologic and microscopic study of tissues in normal and pathologic states. In addition, the student is expected to observe the patient accurately at a distance and close at hand and accurately assess health/illness alteration. Inherent in this observation process is the functional use of the senses and sufficient motor capability to carry out the necessary assessment activities.

▼   Communication Ability

The student is expected to be able to effectively communicate verbally and non-verbally and to observe patients in order to elicit information, describe changes in mood, activity, and postures and to perceive non-verbal communications. This requires the ability to effectively utilize the English language in verbal and written interactions with patients, their families and other professionals in the work environment. The student must be able to communicate effectively and sensitively with patients.

▼   Motor Ability

The student is expected to be able to perform gross and fine motor movements required to provide occupational therapy services and operate equipment to deliver care safely. Examples of movements the student must be able to perform include lifting, turning, transferring, transporting, and exercising of patients. The student is expected to have the psychomotor skills necessary to perform or assist with occupational therapy evaluation procedures (i.e., manual muscle testing, joint range of motion), occupational therapy interventions, handling of equipment, and emergency interventions. The student is expected to be able to maintain consciousness and equilibrium, and have the physical strength and stamina to perform satisfactorily in clinical experiences.

▼   Critical Thinking Ability

The student is expected to have the ability to develop problem-solving skills. This includes the ability to measure, calculate, analyze and synthesize objective as well as subjective data and make decisions that reflect consistent and thoughtful deliberation and clinical judgment. In addition, the student should be able to comprehend three dimensional relationships and understand the spatial relationships of structures.

▼   Interpersonal Abilities, Behavioral and Social Attributes

A student must possess the emotional health and stability required for full utilization of his/her intellectual abilities, the exercise of good judgment, and the prompt completion of all responsibilities attendant to the assessment and treatment of patients. The student is expected to establish rapport, and develop and maintain mature, sensitive, and effective relationships with individuals, families and groups from a variety of social, emotional, cultural, and intellectual backgrounds. Students must be able to tolerate physically and emotionally taxing workloads and to function effectively under stress. Students must be able to adapt to changing environments, to display flexibility and to learn to function in the face of uncertainties inherent to the clinical problems of many patients. Compassion, integrity, concern for others, interpersonal skills, interest and motivation are all necessary personal qualities in order to successfully complete the training required to become an effective and competent occupational therapist.

▼   Individuals with Disabilities

Individuals with disabilities are encouraged to apply to the Occupational Therapy program. However, upon acceptance of the offer of admission to the professional component, it is the responsibility of the student to notify the Chair of the Department of Occupational Therapy at (251) 445-9222 if there is any reason why the abilities/expectations described above cannot be met. Students who indicate that they cannot meet one or more of these and who request a review in writing will be reviewed by the Departmental Faculty Committee and the Coordinator of Special Student Services to determine what, if any, reasonable accommodations might be possible to facilitate successful completion of the degree requirements..