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.
To provide quality health care, 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.
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
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.
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
(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
he 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