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ASOT OTD Program Student Handbook

The Auerbach School of Occupational Therapy (ASOT), Occupational Therapy Doctoral (OTD) Program Student Handbook is the policy and procedure resource specific to this program. This handbook aligns with the Spalding University Student Handbook and Catalog.

Trimester 1

Trimester 1: Gaining Professional Thinking Skills Through Studying the GPS Navigation System(s) and Packing the Supplies for the Journey

  • OT 700: Fundamentals of Occupational Therapy: Meeting Society’s Occupational Needs (4 credit hours)

  • OT 701: Application of Research Evidence in Practice (4)

  • OT 710: Human Anatomy Correlates for Occupational Therapy (4)

  • OT 715: Ethical Decision Making in Occupational Therapy (4)

This first segment of the OTD curriculum acknowledges the beginning of the students’ occupational expedition.  A navigation system allows land or water users to determine their exact location and velocity in any weather condition, 24-hours a day. This trimester represents the students’ GPS navigation guide for packing their occupational therapy toolkits with needed supplies for the journey. GPS system(s) and supplies include: The Occupational Profile, The Occupational Therapy Practice Framework, activity and task analysis, learning ways to find, understand, and analyze evidence, advanced exploration of anatomy and its link to occupation, and The Occupational Therapy Code of Ethics for promoting ethical decision making and practice foundations.  Faculty instructors and advisors act as guides to prepare students for the journey ahead. Guidance systems for OTD Capstone competence are embedded within OT 700, OT 701, and OT 715.

Trimester 2

Trimester 2: Developing Professional Thinking Skills of Reflective and Evidence-Informed Practice Required for Learning to Successfully Paddle the Kayak

  • OT 718: Neuroscience Foundations for Occupational Therapy Practice (4 credit hours)

  • OT 720: Movement in Occupations (4)

  • OT 725: Occupations in Life: A theoretical and Applied Perspective (4)

  • OT 730: Designing and Implementing Research (4)

In this second segment of the curriculum, students have learned how to launch their kayak into the River of Occupation.  Students use the paddles to propel the kayak in the water. They are engaged in learning the basic strokes of using the kayak paddle which include study of human vitality and function and how this impacts occupational engagement. The students gain respect for kayak dynamics while in the water by utilizing their professional thinking skills as they learn how to float and keep the kayak balanced. Going slowly down the river under the watchful eye of faculty instructors and advisors, students continue their study of evidence-informed practice and theoretical frameworks to help guide their future evaluation and intervention planning processes. Professional thinking skills required for padding the kayak into the OTD Capstone are embedded within OT 725 and OT 730. 

Trimester 3

Trimester 3: Building Confidence for Novice Navigation Through Accountable Professional Thinking for Reflective and Evidence-Informed Practice

  • OT 740: Evaluation, Intervention, & Outcomes I: Work, Industry, and Orthopedic Practice (5 credit hours)

  • OT 745: Work, Industry, and Orthopedic Level I Fieldwork (1)

  • OT 750: Evaluation, Intervention, & Outcomes II: Rehabilitation Practice (5)

  • OT 755: Rehabilitation and Disability Level I Fieldwork (1)

This third segment of the curriculum provides opportunities to develop novice professional thinking skills as the students begin Level I Fieldwork experiences and engage in in-depth exploration of the occupational therapy process. Going from simple paddling strokes to maneuvering capabilities for propelling the kayak through the water requires an immense amount of practice. Students begin to find their professional center of gravity through exploring the various tributaries for reflecting on their own beginning practice in the areas of work, orthopedic, upper extremity, and adult neurological rehabilitation practice. This is when students first begin to formally apply the occupational therapy process and outcomes integrating their professional thinking skills of reflective and evidence-informed practice. Students begin to develop their confidence with evaluation tools, intervention planning and techniques, while exploring outcomes within their first two service delivery settings. During this trimester, the beginning novice professional performance skills for eventual engagement within the OT Capstone are embedded within OT 740 and OT 750. 

Trimester 4

Trimester 4: Building Strength for Advanced Beginner Navigation Through Accountable Professional Thinking for Reflective and Evidence-Informed Practice

  • OT 760: Evaluation, Intervention, & Outcomes III: Mental Health Practice (5 credit hours)

  • OT 765: Psychosocial Level I Fieldwork (1)

  • OT 770: Evaluation, Intervention, & Outcomes IV: Children and Youth (5)

  • OT 775: Children and Youth Level I Fieldwork (1)

During this fourth segment of the occupational therapy doctorate curriculum journey on the River of Occupation, students extend their exploration of practice while working with more vulnerable populations.  Individuals who are members of vulnerable populations may experience health conditions that occur or are exacerbated through inadequate access to care.  The complexity of varied practice experiences can create obstacles and a water course filled with debris.  In addition, as students paddle their kayak as advanced beginners, they may come in contact with rapidly moving waters while exploring the various tributaries of mental health and working with children, youth and families. Students continue their development of professional thinking skills through advancing clinical and occupation-based reasoning; adding strength and skill as they build on previous practice experiences. During this trimester students may experience nontraditional community practice within Level I Fieldwork along with learning how to apply the occupational therapy process through a lifespan approach. During this trimester, the advanced beginner professional performance skills for eventual engagement within the OT Capstone are embedded within OT 760 and OT 770. 

Trimester 5

Trimester 5: Putting Competent Practice Navigation Together with Accountable Professional Thinking for Reflective and Evidence-Informed Occupational Therapy Processes

  • OT 780: Diagnosing Occupational Performance and Participation Problems within Varied Service Delivery Contexts (4 credit hours)

  • OT 790: Evaluation, Intervention, & Outcomes V: Productive Aging (5)

  • OT 795: Elder Mentor Project (1)

  • OT 800: Evaluation, Intervention, & Outcomes VI: Special Topics-Beyond Generalist (5)

During this fifth segment of the curriculum, OTD students expand their professional thinking skills and accountability as they utilize their therapeutic use of self in new and self-determined ways within the Elder Mentor Project. At this juncture, strength and confidence required to navigate one’s kayak has increased, and students are approaching more autonomous practice actions. Concepts of diagnostic reasoning skills emerge within professional thinking processes. This is the last trimester before students leave campus for their Level II experience. Students have learned how to manage their kayak and are working with the faculty to fine tune their skills to develop advanced knowledge in focused areas of interest. The students are engaged in a mentoring partnership, exploring specialty areas, and discussing outcomes in a variety of contexts within OT 800. This trimester expands the students’ focus on advanced practice, professional thinking skills and competence demonstration for engaging in the OT Capstone. Capstone competence measures are embedded within OT 780, OT 790, and OT 800.  

Trimester 6 and 7

Trimesters 6 & 7: Proficiently Paddling in One’s Own Direction - Demonstrating Professional Thinking through Reflective and Evidence-Informed Occupational Therapy Practice

  • OT 805 Competency Measures and Capstone Preparation (1 credit hour)

  • OT 830 Level II A Fieldwork (8)

  • OT 840 Level II B Fieldwork (8)

In the beginning of this trimester, OTD students demonstrate the skills required to transition to the role of Level II student practitioner and make decisions concerning the OTD Capstone Project. Soon thereafter and under the watchful eye of the Academic Fieldwork Director and Clinical Fieldwork Educators, OTD student practitioners embark on trajectories for experiencing the occupational therapy process in diverse settings that require proficient effective professional thinking skills and accountable actions.  Proficient OTD students perceive practice situations as a whole, understanding long-term goals, required treatment planning modifications and therapy outcomes based upon client needs. Students adjust and adapt the therapeutic process based upon sound reflective and evidence informed actions. This is a time of practice proficiency for students as they are away from campus for an extended period of time which broadens their practice perspectives. Students proficiently paddle during their own River of Occupation exploration while avoiding capsizing their kayak through demonstrating the capacity to reflect-in-action. Communication with faculty supervisors/advisors and the Academic Fieldwork Director serve as lifelines as needed.Capstone competence measures are embedded within OT 805.

Trimester 8

Trimester 8: Skillfully Paddling into the Future with Professional Thinking Skills for Reflective and Evidence-Informed Practice Competence

  • OT 850: Management & Delivery of OT Services within Complex Healthcare Systems (4 credit hours)

  • OT 860: Occupational Therapy Leadership and Advocacy (4)

  • OT 870: Synthesizing Occupational Therapy Research (4)

This eighth trimester segment of the OTD curriculum provides complex case-based challenges in which the OTD student must demonstrate skill for managing complex practice situations in varied systems and settings. The OTD student-practitioner explores the complexities of managing service delivery, gaining supervision and coaching techniques, portfolio presentation, and creating written scholarship that demonstrates the individual explorations occurring throughout their journey and preparing them for the OTD Capstone. Student practitioners complete a culminating professional portfolio that demonstrates their competence in the OTD curriculum outcomes. The OTD Capstone Project’s needs assessment, systematic review of the literature, goals, objectives, and strategies are finalized through learning outcomes in OT 870. Demonstrated practice competence through meeting or exceeding national benchmark measures occurs in OT 850.  These activities skillfully prepare OTD student-practitioners for the final leg of their curriculum journey, the OTD Capstone Project.

Trimester 9

Trimester 9: Expertly Mastering Professional Thinking Skills and Accountability Through Reflective and Evidence-Informed Practice of Life’s Occupations

  • OT 900: Occupational Therapy Capstone (10)

In this ninth and final segment of the OTD curriculum, OTD students work with their faculty supervisor and organizational program advisor/mentor to expertly engage in actions to meet the occupational needs of a population. Student practitioners working along-side their faculty supervisor, create their own adventure focused on advanced clinical practice skills, research skills, administration, program and or policy development, advocacy, education or theory development. Student practitioners expertly explore and reflect on new directions for paddling the kayak.  By integrating knowledge, theory, and scholarship from the previous eight trimesters, they continue to expand on their journey. The student practitioner learns to navigate around obstacles that emerge within the context of dynamic flowing practice situations to achieve successful occupational therapy outcomes. Reflective and evidence-informed practice that acknowledges and facilitates scholarship actions for the growth, development, and vitality of the provision in life’s occupations is the ultimate outcome of the OTD Capstone.

The courses in the OTD curriculum are symbolized by the synchronized action of the multiple kayaks, propelled by students and faculty alike, moving down the River of Occupation through the process of paddling the kayak through using Professional Thinking Skills and Accountability actions in pursuit of Life’s Occupations.   Students and OTD graduates must eventually reflect on their own capacity for needing the occupational needs of society and compassionate client centered practice without relying on others.  Individual reflection on one’s kayak paddling performance is framed within a novice to expert process throughout the nine trimesters and the occupational therapy doctoral program’s curriculum model.  Evidence is continually explored and analyzed with multiple courses throughout the curriculum so that reflective, evidence-informed practice capacities for paddling one’s kayak emerge. The foundational GPS navigation tools of The Occupational Therapy Profile, The Occupational Therapy Practice Framework, and The Occupational Therapy Code of Ethics encountered within the first trimester ensure that OTD students can effectively navigate contextual complexities keeping clearly focused upon occupation. Once the OTD graduate has engaged in the complete curriculum journey culminating with the OTD Capstone, he or she has shown leadership and advocacy skills and can make firm occupation-based conclusions about future practice actions.