Credit points


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OTHY401 Professional Practice Education 3 OR OTHY416 Professional Practice Education 3

Teaching organisation

150 hours of focused learning.

Unit rationale, description and aim

Students in this professional practice unit complete a 10 week, 1 day per week placement to develop advanced occupational therapy skills in a specific occupational therapy area of practice. The placement runs in conjunction with the unit ‘Advanced Occupational Therapy Practice (OTHY404)’. Students will engage in an advanced occupational therapy practice project. Project management skills will be developed and applied to a project which contributes to the occupation-focused, person-centred, evidence-based practice of a host agency. Students will draw on and apply attitudes, skills and knowledge acquired over the course of the Bachelor of Occupational Therapy. Students will require advanced skills in the following areas: organisation and time management, written and verbal communication, collaboration, teamwork, searching and synthesising evidence, and professional reasoning.

The aim of this professional practice unit is for students to develop life-long learning skills and to apply advanced skills and knowledge to practice in responding to a real-life professional practice issue.

Learning outcomes

To successfully complete this unit you will be able to demonstrate you have achieved the learning outcomes (LO) detailed in the below table.

Each outcome is informed by a number of graduate capabilities (GC) to ensure your work in this, and every unit, is part of a larger goal of graduating from ACU with the attributes of insight, empathy, imagination and impact.

Explore the graduate capabilities.

On successful completion of this unit, students should be able to:

LO1 - Demonstrate professional behaviours and conduct themselves in accordance with WFOT Code of Ethics; (GA1, GA3, GA5, GA7, GA9)

LO2 - Engage in diverse communication processes with service users and providers to articulate and advocate an occupation-focused and person-centred approach to a specific area of occupational therapy practice; (GA1, GA5, GA7, GA9)

LO3 - Plan, develop and evaluate an evidence-based project for a specific area of occupational therapy practice; (GA1, GA5, GA7)

Graduate attributes

GA1 - demonstrate respect for the dignity of each individual and for human diversity 

GA3 - apply ethical perspectives in informed decision making

GA5 - demonstrate values, knowledge, skills and attitudes appropriate to the discipline and/or profession 

GA7 - work both autonomously and collaboratively 

GA9 - demonstrate effective communication in oral and written English language and visual media 

AOTCS, 2018

Australian occupational therapy competency standards (AOTCS) 2018, developed in this unit are:

Standard/Attributes/CriteriaLearning Outcomes

Standard 1 - professionalism 

An occupational therapist practises in an ethical, safe, lawful and accountable manner, supporting client health and wellbeing through occupation and consideration of the person and their environment.

An occupational therapist:

1.1.   Complies with the occupational therapy board of Australia’s standards, guidelines and code of conduct

1.2. Adheres to legislation relevant to practice

1.3. Maintains professional boundaries in all client and professional relationships

1.4. Recognises and manages conflicts of interest in all client and professional relationships

1.5. Practises in a culturally responsive and culturally safe manner, with particular respect to culturally diverse client groups

1.6 Incorporates and responds to historical, political, cultural, societal, environmental and economic factors influencing health, wellbeing and occupations of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples

1.7 Collaborates and consults ethically and responsibly for effective client-centred and interprofessional practice

1.8. Adheres to all work health and safety, and quality requirements for practice

1.9 Identifies and manages the influence of her/his values and culture on practice

1.10 Practises within limits of her/his own level of competence and expertise

1.11 Maintains professional competence and adapts to change in practice contexts

1.12 Identifies and uses relevant professional and operational support and supervision

1.13. Manages resources, time and workload accountably and effectively

1.14. Recognises and manages her/his own physical and mental health for safe, professional practice

1.15. Addresses issues of occupational justice in practice

1.16. Contributes to education and professional practice development of peers and students, and

1.17 Recognises and manages any inherent power imbalance in relationships with clients

LO1, LO2, LO3

Standard 2 - Knowledge and learning 

An occupational therapist’s knowledge, skills and behaviours in practice are informed by relevant and contemporary theory, practice knowledge and evidence, and are maintained and developed by ongoing professional development and learning.

An occupational therapist:

2.1 Applies current and evidence-informed knowledge of occupational therapy and other appropriate and relevant theory in practice

2.2 Applies theory and frameworks of occupation to professional practice and decision-making

2.3. Identifies and applies best available evidence in professional practice and decision making

2.4. Understands and responds to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health philosophies, leadership, research and practices

2.5. Maintains current knowledge for cultural responsiveness to all groups in the practice setting

2.6 Maintains and improves currency of knowledge, skills and new evidence for practice by adhering  to the requirements for continuing professional development.

2.7 Implements a specific learning and development plan when moving to a new area of practice or returning to practice.

2.8. Reflects on practice to inform current and future reasoning and decision-making and the integration of theory and evidence into practice

2.9. Maintains knowledge of relevant resources and technologies, and

2.10. Maintains digital literacy for practice.

LO1, LO2, LO3

Standard 3 - Occupational therapy process and practice 

An occupational therapist’s practice acknowledges the relationship between health, wellbeing and human occupation, and their practice is client-centred for individuals, groups, communities and populations. 

An occupational therapist: 

3.1 Addresses occupational performance and participation of clients, identifying the enablers and barriers to engagement

3.2 Performs appropriate information gathering and assessment when identifying a client's status and functioning, strengths, occupational performance and goals

3.3 Collaborates with the client and relevant others to determine the priorities and occupational therapy goals   

3.4 Develops a plan with the client and relevant others to meet identified occupational therapy goals         

3.5 Selects and implements culturally responsive and safe practice strategies to suit the occupational therapy goals and environment of the client

3.6. Seeks to understand and incorporate Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples· experiences of health, wellbeing and occupations encompassing cultural connections

3.7 Reflects on practice to inform and communicate professional reasoning and decisionmaking

3.8 Identifies and uses practice guidelines and protocols suitable to the practice setting or work environment  

3.9 Implements an effective and accountable process for delegation, referral and handover   

3.10 Reviews, evaluates and modifies plans, goals and interventions with the client and relevant others to enhance or achieve client outcomes

3.11 Evaluates client and service outcomes to inform future practice

3.12 Uses effective collaborative, multidisciplinary and inter-professional approaches for decision-making and planning

3.13 Uses appropriate assistive technology, devices and/or environmental modifications to achieve client occupational performance outcomes

3.14 Contributes to quality improvement and service development

LO1, LO2, LO3

Standard 4 - Communication 

Occupational therapists practise with open, responsive and appropriate communication to maximise the occupational performance and engagement of clients and relevant others. 

An occupational therapist: 

4.1 Communicates openly, respectfully and effectively 

4.2 Adapts written, verbal and non-verbal communication appropriate to the client and practice context 

4.3 Works ethically with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities and organisations to understand and incorporate relevant cultural protocols and communication strategies, with the aim of working to support self-governance in communities

4.4 Uses culturally responsive, safe and relevant communication tools and strategies 

4.5 Complies with legal and procedural requirements for the responsible and accurate documentation, sharing and storage of professional information and records of practice.

4.6 Maintains contemporaneous, accurate and complete records of practice.        

4.7 Obtains informed consent for practice and information-sharing from the client or legal guardian

4.8 Maintains collaborative professional relationships with clients, health professionals and relevant others

4.9 Uses effective communication skill s to initiate and end relationships with clients and relevant others

4.10 Seeks and responds to feedback, modifying communication and/or practice accordingly,

4.11 Identifies and articulates the rationale for practice to clients and relevant others

LO1, LO2, LO3


Topics will include:

Preparation for advanced professional practice education

  • Goal setting and learning contract
  • Project management knowledge and skills

Enhancing skills in occupational therapy practice implementation

  • Application of evidence-based practice
  • Utilising professional reasoning skills
  • Utilising reflective practice
  • Evaluation and outcome measurement 

Professional behaviours and ethical practices

Learning and teaching strategy and rationale

Professional Practice Education 4 provides students with 80 hours of professional practice experience. The placement runs in conjunction with the unit OTHY404 ‘Advanced Occupational Therapy Practice’. This professional practice experience is a project placement. Most students will work in pairs to complete a project nominated by the professional practice agency in response to an identified need. The professional practice experiences in this unit are supplemented by on-campus learning activities which may include workshops, tutorials, group discussions, meetings with tutors and self-directed learning activities in small groups. Students will apply aspects of evidence-based practice, such as searching for, locating and appraising evidence focused by a clinical question in PICO format. Students will also be introduced to concepts and practices of project management. They will assimilate this knowledge with theory, knowledge, skills and attitudes acquired over the Bachelor of Occupational Therapy and apply it in a real-world professional environment.

Assessment strategy and rationale

Assessment procedures have been selected which meet the unit learning outcomes and assess graduate attributes consistent with University assessment requirements. Assessment tasks reflect attributes which are required in professional practice. Development of individual learning contracts are used to develop ability to manage a continuing professional development plan and strategies to achieve learning needs. The SPEF-R is used to inform students, professional practice educators and academics about student progress in meeting attributes required for practice. The project plan provides the vehicle for developing project management skills, negotiation, prioritisation and evaluation of outcomes. The oral presentation, deliverables and handover summary report demonstrates the capacity to synthesise material of relevance to professional practice and report back to stakeholders.  

Overview of assessments

Brief Description of Kind and Purpose of Assessment TasksWeightingLearning OutcomesGraduate Attributes

1. Preparation and submission of individual learning contract used to guide development of individual practice skills and knowledge



GA5, GA7, GA9

2. Preparation and submission of a Project Management Plan



GA5, GA7, GA9

3. Timesheet signed by supervisor



GA5, GA7, GA9

4. Submission of final individual learning contract, signed by supervisor, at completion of placement



GA5, GA7, GA9

5. SPEF-R - Minimum of ‘adequate’ performance on core items in Stream B for domains 1, 2, 4, 6, 7 


LO1, LO2,  LO3

GA1, GA3, GA5, GA7, GA9

6. Oral presentation and handover summary report. Submit a written handover summary report outlining the project aims, processes, outcomes and impact for occupational therapy and deliver an oral presentation of the content to the placement agency. 


LO1,  LO2

GA5, GA7, GA9

Representative texts and references

Australian occupational therapy competency standards 2018. Retrieved March 8, 2019 from

Dwyer, J., Liang, Z., Thiessen, B., & Martini, A. (2013). Project management in health and community services – getting good ideas to work (2nd ed.). Crows Nest: Allen & Unwin.

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