Inherent requirements for Occupational Therapy courses

These inherent requirements apply to the following courses:

  • Bachelor of Occupational Therapy
  • Bachelor of Occupational Therapy (honours)
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ACU School of Allied Health (SAH) strongly supports the rights of all people who wish to pursue an occupational therapy course to achieve their potential and career objectives. The School is committed to making reasonable adjustments to teaching and learning, assessment, clinical practice and other activities to address the impact of students' disabilities so that they are able to participate in their course.

To support potential and current students' decision making a series of inherent requirement statements has been developed. These statements specify the course requirements of the entry level occupational therapy courses for student admission and progression. The statements are clustered under eight domains consisting of Ethical Behaviour, Behavioural Stability, Legal, Communication, Cognition, Sensory Abilities, Strength and Mobility and Sustainable Performance. Many of the activities associated with the professional practice of a registered occupational therapist are time sensitive, where the capacity to perform certain activities within specified time limits is required to reduce or avoid risks to client safety and wellbeing. The safety and wellbeing of you and others is always of paramount importance.

Students are required to undertake learning activities in mixed gender environments, which reflect the Australian health care context.

Successfully completing the course enables you to apply for registration as a registered occupational therapist with the Australian Health Practitioners Registration Authority (AHPRA).

The inherent requirements outlined below provide a guide for students and staff members when deciding whether you are able to meet these requirements and the type of reasonable adjustments that could be put in place to allow you to complete the course without compromising the academic integrity of the course.

If you are intending to enroll in an entry level occupational therapy course at the School of Allied Health, you should look at these inherent requirement statements and think about whether you may experience challenges in meeting these requirements.

If you think you may experience challenges related to your disability, chronic health condition or any other reason, you should discuss your concerns with a campus Disability Advisor or occupational therapy staff, such as the Course Coordinator. These staff can work collaboratively with you to determine reasonable adjustments to assist you to meet the Inherent Requirements. In the case where it is determined that Inherent Requirements cannot be met with reasonable adjustments, the University staff can provide guidance regarding other study options.

These inherent requirements should be read in conjunction with other ACU course information and the publications such as the Occupational Therapy Code of Conduct, Guidelines for Mandatory Notifications, and the Australian Minimum Competency Standards for New Graduate Occupational Therapists, and the Australian Competency Standards for Occupational Therapists in Mental Health.

Each inherent requirement is made up of the following five levels:

  • Level 1 - introduction to the inherent requirement
  • Level 2 - description of what the inherent requirement is
  • Level 3 - explanation of why this is an inherent requirement of the course
  • Level 4 - the nature of any adjustments that may be made to allow you to meet the requirement
  • Level 5 - examples of things you must be able to do to show you've met the requirement

Inherent requirement domains

There are eight domains of inherent requirements in the Occupational Therapy courses listed above. Some domains have a number of sub-domains.

LevelInherent Requirement Statements

1

Occupational therapy is a profession that is governed by codes of conduct and standards, where occupational therapists are both accountable and responsible for ensuring safe and professional behaviour in all contexts.

2

Student demonstrates knowledge of, and engages in ethical behaviour in practice.

3

Justification of Inherent Requirement:

  • Compliance with the codes, guidelines and policies facilitates safe, competent interactions and relationships for students and/or the people they engage with. This ensures the physical, psychological, emotional and spiritual wellbeing of the individual is not placed at risk

4

Adjustments must not compromise codes and standards or result in unethical behaviour.

5

Exemplars:

  • Complying with academic and non-academic misconduct policies in both academic and clinical settings
  • Complying with medico-legal requirements relating to informed consent, privacy and confidentiality with client information in academic and clinical settings
LevelInherent Requirement Statements

1

Behavioural stability is required to function and adapt effectively and sensitively in a demanding role.

2

Student demonstrates behavioural stability to work constructively in a diverse and changing academic and clinical environment.

3

Justification of Inherent Requirement:

  • Behavioural stability is required to work individually and in teams in changing and unpredictable environments. Occupational therapy students will be exposed to health care and disability contexts in which they will encounter human suffering, and will be required to have behavioural stability to manage these situations in a professional manner.

4

Adjustments must support stable, effective and professional behaviour in both academic and clinical settings.

5

Exemplars:

  • Reflecting on practice and responding appropriately to constructive feedback
  • Coping with own emotions and behaviour effectively when dealing with individuals in the clinical setting
LevelInherent Requirement Statements

1

Occupational Therapy practice is mandated by specific legal and regulatory requirements and standards to enable the safe delivery of care.

2

Student demonstrates knowledge and compliance with Australian Law and professional regulatory requirements and standards, which dictates the scope of occupational therapy practice.

3

Justification of Inherent Requirement:

  • Knowledge, understanding and compliance with legislative and regulatory requirements and standards are necessary pre-requisites to clinical placements, to reduce the risk of harm to self and others
  • Compliance with the Australian Law and professional regulatory requirements and standards ensures that students are both responsible and accountable for their practice

4

Adjustments must be consistent with legislative and regulatory requirements.

5

Exemplars:

  • Complying with the requirements for student registration with the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency (AHPRA)
  • Complying with the policies of clinical facilities e.g. uniform requirements

This course requires effective, verbal, non-verbal and written communication skills.

Verbal communication
LevelInherent Requirement Statements

1

Effective and efficient verbal communication, in English, is an essential requirement to provide safe delivery of care.

2

Student demonstrates:

  • The ability to understand and respond to verbal communication accurately, appropriately and in a timely manner
  • The ability to provide clear instructions in the context of the situation
  • Timely clear feedback and reporting

3

Justification of Inherent Requirement:

  • Communication may be restricted to verbal because of limitations of the individual (e.g. injury, disease or congenital conditions)
  • Speed and interactivity of communication may be critical for individual safety or treatment
  • Timely, accurate and effective delivery of instructions is critical to individual safety, treatment and management

4

Adjustments for impaired verbal communication must address effectiveness, timeliness, clarity and accuracy issues to ensure safety.

5

Exemplars:

  • Participating in tutorial discussions and practicing verbal communication skills during practical classes
  • Establishing rapport with clients during occupational therapy management and responding appropriately to requests from clients, supervisors and other health professionals, in the clinical setting

 

Non-verbal communication
LevelInherent Requirement Statements

1

Effective non-verbal communication is fundamental to occupational therapy and needs to be respectful, clear, attentive, empathetic, honest and non-judgemental.

2

Student demonstrates:

  • The capacity to recognise, interpret and respond appropriately to behavioural cues
  • Consistent and appropriate awareness of own behaviours
  • Sensitivity to individual differences

3

Justification of Inherent Requirement:

  • The ability to observe and understand non-verbal cues assists with building rapport with people and gaining their trust and respect in academic and professional relationships
  • Displaying consistent and appropriate facial expressions, eye contact, being mindful of space, time boundaries and body movements and gestures promotes trust in academic and professional relationships
  • Being sensitive to individual differences displays respect and empathy to others and develops trusting relationships
  • The ability to observe and understand non -verbal cues is essential for safe and effective observation of client symptoms and reactions to facilitate the assessment and treatment of clients

4

Adjustments must enable the recognition, initiation of or appropriate response to effective non-verbal communication in a timely and appropriate manner.

5

Exemplars:

  • Recognising and responding appropriately to cues and activities in the university environment
  • Recognising and responding appropriately to cues in the clinical setting

 

Written communication
LevelInherent Requirement Statements

1

Effective written communication is a fundamental occupational therapy responsibility with professional and legal ramifications.

2

Student demonstrates the capacity to construct coherent written communication appropriate to the circumstances.

3

Justification of Inherent Requirement:

  • Construction of written text based assessment tasks to reflect the required academic standards are necessary to convey knowledge and understanding of relevant subject matter for professional practice
  • Accurate written communication, including record-keeping and client notes which meet legal requirements, is vital to provide consistent and safe client care

4

Adjustments must meet necessary standards of clarity, accuracy and accessibility to ensure effective recording and transmission of information in both academic and clinical environments.

5

Exemplars:

  • Constructing an essay to academic standards
  • Constructing client notes, reports and information sheets in a timely manner that meets legal and professional standards

This course requires knowledge of theory and the skills of cognition, literacy and numeracy.

Knowledge and cognitive skills
LevelInherent Requirement Statements

1

Consistent and effective knowledge and cognitive skills must be demonstrated to provide safe, effective and timely occupational therapy management.

2

Student demonstrates:

  • Capacity to locate appropriate and relevant information
  • Ability to process information relevant to practice
  • Ability to integrate and implement knowledge into practice in a timely manner

3

Justification of Inherent Requirement:

  • Safe and effective delivery of occupational therapy management is based on comprehensive knowledge that must be sourced, understood and applied appropriately.

4

Adjustments must ensure that a clear demonstration of knowledge and cognitive skills is not compromised or impeded.

5

Exemplars:

  • Conceptualising and using appropriate knowledge in response to academic assessment items
  • Appropriately applying knowledge of theory, research evidence, policies and procedures in the clinical setting

 

Literacy (language)
LevelInherent Requirement Statements

1

Competent literacy skills are essential to provide safe and effective delivery of care.

2

Student demonstrates:

  • The ability to accurately acquire information and convey appropriate, effective messages
  • Ability to read and comprehend a range of literature and information
  • The capacity to understand and implement academic conventions to construct written text in a scholarly manner

3

Justification of Inherent Requirement:

  • The ability to acquire information and to accurately convey messages is fundamental to ensure safe and effective assessment, treatment and delivery of care
  • The ability to read, decode, interpret and comprehend multiple sources of information is fundamental for safe and effective delivery of care

4

Adjustments to address literacy issues must demonstrate a capacity to effectively acquire, comprehend, apply and communicate accurate information.

5

Exemplars:

  • Conveying spoken and written messages accurately and effectively in a clinical setting
  • Paraphrasing, summarising and referencing in accordance with appropriate academic conventions in written assignments
  • Producing accurate, concise and clear occupational therapy documentation which meets legal requirements

 

Numeracy
LevelInherent Requirement Statements

1

Competent and accurate numeracy skills are essential for safe and effective occupational therapy management.

2

Student interprets and correctly applies data, measurements and numerical criteria.

3

Justification of Inherent Requirement:

  • Competent application of numeracy skills is essential in occupational therapy to facilitate the safe and effective delivery of occupational therapy care

4

Adjustments must demonstrate a capacity to interpret and apply concepts and processes appropriately in a timely, accurate and effective manner.

5

Exemplars:

  • Recording accurate measurements in client notes
  • Prescribing adaptive equipment that correctly meets client measurement requirements e.g. wheelchair prescription

This course requires adequate visual, auditory and tactile abilities.

Visual sensory ability
LevelInherent Requirement Statements

1

Adequate visual acuity is required to provide safe and effective occupational therapy management.

2

Student demonstrates sufficient visual acuity to perform a range of skills.

3

Justification of Inherent Requirement:

  • Sufficient visual acuity to demonstrate the required range of skills, tasks and assessments to maintain consistent, accurate and safe care to self and others
  • Visual observations, examinations and assessment are fundamental to safe and effective occupational therapy practice

4

Adjustments must address the need to perform the full range of tasks involved in clinical practice. Any strategies to address the effects of vision impairment must be effective, consistent and not compromise treatment or safety.

5

Exemplars:

  • Observing and detecting subtle changes in posture, movement and the ability to perform functional activities during assessment and treatment
  • Safely operating electronic equipment e.g. splinting equipment – heat guns and splinting pans

 

Auditory sensory ability
LevelInherent Requirement Statements

1

Adequate auditory ability is required to provide safe and effective occupational therapy management.

2

Student demonstrates sufficient aural function to undertake the required range of skills.

3

Justification of Inherent Requirement:

  • Sufficient auditory ability is necessary to monitor, assess and manage individual health needs consistently and accurately
  • Auditory assessments and observations are fundamental to safe and effective occupational therapy practice

4

Adjustments must address the need to perform the range of tasks involved in clinical practice. Any strategies to address the effects of hearing impairment must be effective, consistent and not compromise treatment of safety.

5

Exemplars:

  • Detecting care requests by calls for help or activation of a call bell
  • Engaging appropriately to a client's responses during an assessment

 

Tactile sensory ability
LevelInherent Requirement Statements

1

Sufficient tactile ability is required to perform competent and safe occupational therapy management.

2

Student demonstrates sufficient tactile function to undertake a range of skills and assessments.

3

Justification of Inherent Requirement:

  • Sufficient tactile ability is necessary to monitor, assess and detect clients' physical characteristics and act on any abnormalities detected to provide appropriate occupational therapy management
  • Tactile assessments and observations are fundamental to safe and effective occupational therapy practice

4

Adjustments must have the capacity to make effective assessments of physical characteristics and abnormalities within safe time frames.

5

Exemplars:

  • Detecting changes in circulation, e.g. temperature
  • Palpating joints, muscles, and soft tissues, and detecting anatomical or movement abnormalities

This course requires strength and mobility involving fine and gross motor skills.

Gross motor skills
LevelInherent Requirement Statements

1

Occupational therapy involves physical demands and requires gross motor function.

2

Student demonstrates the ability to perform gross motor skills to function within the scope of practice.

3

Justification of Inherent Requirement:

  • Sufficient gross motor skills are necessary to perform, coordinate and prioritise care. Tasks that involve gross motor skills include lifting, carrying, pushing, pulling, standing, twisting and bending. Students must be able to demonstrate and perform these tasks consistently and safely to reduce the risk of harm to self and others

4

Adjustments must facilitate functional effectiveness, safety of self and others and a capacity to provide appropriate care.

5

Exemplars:

  • Maintaining own and client's balance, while providing client support, when transferring and mobilising individuals in a safe manner
  • Evaluating clients, in a safe and effective manner, who have varying physical capacity, who are positioned on plinths and hospital beds, on mats on the floor, on chairs and when standing

 

Fine motor skills
LevelInherent Requirement Statements

1

Occupational therapy is a profession that requires manual dexterity and fine motor skills.

2

Student demonstrated ability to use fine motor skills to provide safe effective care.

3

Justification of Inherent Requirement:

  • Sufficient fine motor skills are necessary to coordinate and prioritise care. Tasks that involve fine motor skills include being able to grasp, press, push, turn, squeeze and manipulate various objects and individuals. Students must be able to demonstrate and perform these tasks consistently and safely to reduce the risk of harm to self and others

4

Adjustments must facilitate functional effectiveness, safety to self and others and a capacity to provide appropriate care.

5

Exemplars:

  • Performing assessment techniques, e.g. evaluation of hand sensation and joint movement
  • Performing treatment techniques, e.g. fabricating splints, demonstrating use of adaptive equipment, demonstrating fine motor tasks during activities of daily living
LevelInherent Requirement Statements

1

Occupational therapy practice requires both physical and mental performance at a consistent and sustained level to meet individual needs over time.

2

Student demonstrates:

  • Consistent and sustained level of physical energy to complete a specific task in a timely manner and over time
  • The ability to perform repetitive activities with a level of concentration that ensures a capacity to focus on the activity until it is completed appropriately
  • The capacity to maintain consistency and quality of performance throughout the designated period of duty

3

Justification of Inherent Requirement:

  • Sufficient physical and mental endurance is an essential requirement needed to perform multiple tasks in an assigned period to provide safe and effective care

4

Adjustments must ensure that performance is consistent and sustained over a given period.

5

Exemplars:

  • Participating in tutorials and lectures throughout the day
  • Providing consistent occupational therapy management over a negotiated time frame while on clinical placement

 

 
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