Occupational Therapy Student Handbook

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Introduction to the Occupational Therapy Handbook

Congratulations on your acceptance into the New York Institute of Technology's Occupational Therapy (OT) Program. We are pleased that you have chosen occupational therapy as your profession. It is an exciting time to begin your graduate academic career, which will provide you with what you need to enter into the OT profession. We welcome you to an exciting future career.

This Student Handbook was developed to provide you with specific information related to the Department of Occupational Therapy. On the following pages you will find essential information needed to assist you in your successful completion of this program. The following Occupational Therapy Student Handbook is provided as a supplement to the New York Institute of Technology (NYIT) Academic Catalogs, the NYIT Student Handbook, and the NYIT Student Code of Conduct.

Please keep this Student Handbook in a secure place as you will be required to refer to it throughout your academic career at NYIT. It is recommended that you print out this handbook and obtain a three-ring binder to secure its pages. It is highly recommended that you save this Student Handbook on your desktop, laptop or on a flash drive.

Please note that you are expected to be aware of all the content in this handbook and abide by it throughout your time in the Occupational Therapy Program. During the Summer orientation session you will be asked to acknowledge receiving this handbook in writing. Please make sure you read all of the pages of this handbook and understand the content in its entirety.

This handbook serves as an introduction to important information needed in order to succeed in the professional program. It contains information about the faculty (with telephone numbers and e-mail addresses), the practice of occupational therapy, the academic program, including the mission, philosophy and graduation requirements, the Department of Occupational Therapy Advisory Board, student rights and responsibilities, professional organizations, the portfolio, professional development and the occupational therapy code of ethics. In short, it is a reference tool to be consulted during the entire course of study. A separate Occupational Therapy Fieldwork Manual is also provided and provides important information about this crucial aspect of your training. These documents all are of assistance in making the transition from classroom to occupational therapy practice. The student is responsible for all of the information contained in these sources. Details are subject to change. Students will be notified if changes occur.

The answers to many questions are in the college graduate and undergraduate catalogs, including information about admissions, financial aid, course and grade requirements; (note: grade requirements differ for occupational therapy students from those for students in other majors), registration, enrollment, tuition and fees, physical facilities (including information about the three NYIT campuses), libraries, maps and travel directions and the academic calendar. You can also access the NYIT Web Site for information, including updates on school closings, etc..

The basic college core courses, sciences and liberal arts are covered during the preparatory phase of the program, or for the post-baccalaureate student, in undergraduate work. In the professional phase, the student is immersed in the study of the literature of occupational therapy theory and practice, as well as numerous laboratory classes to develop the skills needed for the required fieldwork. (Please refer to the NYIT Department of Occupational Therapy Fieldwork Manual for detailed information about the fieldwork experiences.)

This handbook is designed to assist you during your time in the program and it includes information about academic policies specific to students majoring in occupational therapy, professional development, student responsibilities, and services. However, it is not intended to replace basic college policy documents or personal contact with the advisor who is available by appointment. All Department of Occupational Therapy faculty members can be reached by telephone at the Department number: 516.686.1058.

Greetings from the Dean

As the Dean of the School of Health Professions, I would like to personally welcome you to the occupational therapy (OT) program at New York Institute of Technology (NYIT). The occupational therapy program was established in September 1996 as a bachelor's level program with a cohort of forty students admitted as freshmen. The program later transformed to a Master's level and graduated the first MS group in 2003. Today, it continues to flourish with an all-new updated curriculum commencing summer 2017. This will ensure that graduates of the NYIT OT program continue to excel at the highest levels as is evidenced by last year's (Class of 2016) new graduate NBCOT pass rate of 97%.

Whether you are entering the pre-professional combined BS/MS occupational therapy program or the direct MS graduate degree program you will find a faculty and staff who are committed to ensuring your success. Your fieldwork experiences are carefully selected, and take place in high quality clinical settings in the community to enhance the degree requirements for licensure upon completion from the program. The ultimate goal is to provide students with educational experiences that will allow them to grow into individuals equipped to take on the roles and carry out the functions of an occupational therapist.

This handbook is only one of many resources that can support you in the transition from student to professional. Other resources are available to ensure your achievements while in the program. Access to these resources are described in this handbook, as well as in other publications mentioned in the introduction.

As you move through the various aspects of the program, take advantage of all that NYIT has to offer both in and outside the classroom. I know you will succeed as you were selected through a rigorous process that identifies only the best students. You are about to join an elite group of health care professionals who have a passion for their field and the patients they serve.

Sheldon D. Fields, PhD, RN, FAAN
Dean & Professor
School of Health Professions

Welcome from the Program Director

The faculty of the Department of Occupational Therapy welcomes you to the occupational therapy program. We are excited you decided to join us and start your journey of becoming an occupational therapist. Throughout your time here at NYIT, we will work together in preparing you for being an entry-level occupational therapist through our comprehensive curriculum.

This program has two main components: didactic learning and fieldwork training. In the didactic portion of the program, you enroll in classes where you lean the basic theoretical, medical, and clinical foundations of occupational therapy. As a graduate-level student you are expected to commit to acquiring the knowledge offered in these courses and assuming the responsibility of making the most of your learning experience.

The fieldwork training part of the program allows you to apply and transfer the knowledge acquired earlier in the program in clinical settings with various levels of professional supervision. Skills of evidence-based decision making, problem solving, and clinical reasoning will all come into play in this stage. This is a great portion of the program where not only do you develop your clinical skills as a therapist but also create professional networks with colleagues and other therapists in the occupational therapy field.

Being an occupational therapist necessitates being a professional first, which requires a different set of skills. These include skills of communication, time management, decision making, and interdisciplinary team playing. Other characteristics are imperative at this point to including commitment, flexibility, respect, and resourcefulness to name a few.

Remember … your future clients, their families, and fellow therapists count on you to do your part, and trust that you are well-prepared to do your job, so make sure you do whatever it takes to live up to their expectations and handle this responsibility.

Razan Hamed, Ph.D., OTR/L
Associate Professor
Program Director and Department Chairperson

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Accreditation, Certification, and Licensure Notice

Accreditation

The occupational therapy program at New York Institute of Technology was initially granted full accreditation by the Accreditation Council of Occupational Therapy Education (ACOTE) of the American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA) on April 28, 2012, and reaccredited by that agency for seven years in academic year 2011-2012 to 2018-2019. The program is approved by the New York State Education Department to grant a BS degree in Life Science for the Health Professions, Occupational Therapy option and the MS degree in Occupational Therapy.

Accreditation by ACOTE of an academic program is essential for graduates in order to be eligible to sit for the National Board for Certification of Occupational Therapy (NBCOT) certification exam. The results of this examination are used by most states, including New York, in considering an applicant for licensure to practice. Detailed information is available on their web sites: ACOTE and NBCOT.

The Accreditation Council for Occupational Therapy Education (ACOTE) can be contacted at the American Occupational Therapy Association: P.O. Box 31220, Bethesda, Maryland 20824-1220; 301.652.2682, accred@aota.org.

National Certification Examination Requirements

The National Board for Certification of Occupational Therapists (NBCOT) administers the certification examination for graduates of accredited programs in occupational therapy. Upon completion of all graduation requirements, the student may be eligible to sit for the certification examination administrated by the NBCOT. The results of this examination, along with certain other criteria, are used by the New York State Education Department (NYSED) as well as by most other states to determine eligibility for licensure.

Once the student is cleared for graduation, s/he may apply for a temporary license to practice (see Licensure, below). For detailed information on the NBCOT Certification Exam application process, consult the NBCOT website, and/or Appendix A.

Students are eligible to apply to NBCOT upon satisfactory completion of all academic and clinical education requirements. The following are required:

  • Satisfactory completion of all required courses.
  • Satisfactory graduation requirement (see below under Graduation Requirement)
  • Filing of a completed NBCOT application
  • Submitting the Academic Verification Form (AVF)

Licensure

In order to practice as an occupational therapist, a person must be licensed by the state in which s/he practices. Licensure laws vary from state to state; therefore, it is the student's responsibility to familiarize him/herself with the licensure requirements in the state s/he plans to practice.

Licensure to practice occupational therapy in New York State is granted by the New York State Education Department (NYSED), which reviews the applicant's: 1) academic credentials (i.e. college must certify that the student has satisfactorily completed all college requirements for the degree), 2) performance on the National Board for Certification of Occupational Therapists (NBCOT) Certification Examination (see National Certification Examination Requirements, above), and 3) personal qualifications. NYSED reviews applicant's personal qualifications through a series of questions that help determine whether the applicant is of good moral character, e.g. "Have you ever been convicted of a crime (felony or misdemeanor) in any state or country?" and "Have you ever been charged with a crime (felony or misdemeanor) in any state or country, the disposition of which was other than by acquittal or dismissal?" A "yes" answer requires a complete explanation, including copies of any court records.

For more detail about the licensure procedures, please contact New York State Education Department at their website. The NYSED can be reached at otbd@mail.nysed.gov or 518.474.3817, ext. 100.

Note: Applicants to the School of Health Professions should be aware that certain legal issues and/or convictions may preclude a student from being accepted by clerkships, internships and/or fieldwork and impact the student's ability to successfully complete the program and achieve certification and/or licensure.

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Introduction to Program Foundations

Mission

The mission of the NYIT OT program is to prepare students to become innovative, evidence-based, science-driven occupational therapy practitioners with the skills necessary to facilitate participation in meaningful occupations across a diverse, global society.

Vision

The vision of the NYIT OT department is to become a widely recognized program that prepares students to become critical thinkers, innovative practitioners, and influential leaders. We envision graduates who will utilize evidence, technology, and science to translate knowledge into their clinical practice to meet the changing occupational needs of local, national, and global societies.

Introduction

NYIT's Department of Occupational Therapy faculty are committed to delivering and continuing to build a graduate program curriculum that fosters the ACOTE Philosophy of Occupational Therapy Education within a community of occupation-based learning. The curriculum:

  • Rests on the belief that humans are complex and occupational beings who are always evolving through change and adaptation.
  • Is guided by moral principles and respect for others in responding to societal needs.
  • Engages students, faculty and the greater community in interactive dialogue.
  • Addresses the broad areas of the humanities, behavioral and life sciences.
  • Includes didactic occupational therapy professional courses and clinical experiences that are grounded in the constructs of occupation and occupational performance.

Through these means, NYIT occupational therapy students are prepared to become entry- level, evidence-based generalists who practice ethically and with compassion.

The Practice of Occupational Therapy

Occupational therapy is the art and science of helping people perform the day-to-day activities that are important and meaningful to their health and wellbeing through the engagement in valued occupations. Occupation, in occupational therapy, is defined by Wilcock and Townsend, as cited in Schell, Gillen, and Scaffa, (2014) " …to mean all the things that people want, need, or have to do whether of a physical, mental, social, sexual, political, or spiritual nature… "

The occupational therapist uses oral and written communication skills, the understanding of normal human growth and development, family dynamics, cultural influences and organizational/managerial/financial strategies. A therapist may select and/or design and construct devices that assist the client in the performance of activities or which protect or replace a body part, and train the client in the use of the device. Positioning, environmental adaptations (home, work, community, school, organization, and population), and the provision of technology and/or equipment are also part of the occupational therapist's role.

The occupational therapy student learns how to analyze activities into their component parts, and modify and grade activities to meet the needs of the client. Students have the opportunity to gain skills in the areas of group dynamics, problem solving, clinical reasoning, activity and task analysis, assistive technology and physical modalities, while developing therapeutic use of self. The student will learn how to improve the lives of clients, using clinical reasoning guided by evidence-based practice, i.e., best-practice as guided by evidence produced through rigorous research. As one experienced practitioner said, "What we do looks very simple; what we know is very complex."

Professional accountability is critical to ensure competence and is achieved through accreditation, certification, licensure and supervision. Occupational therapists are guided in their work by the profession's Code of Ethics (see Appendix B) and are committed to a lifetime of continued professional education.

Philosophy of the Curriculum Design

The NYIT occupational therapy program values the overarching idea that meaningful occupation, embedded within a client-centered framework, is the foundation upon which the program transmits professional knowledge to occupational therapy students. Across different courses in the curriculum students learn the concepts of being client-centered practitioners guided by the foundations of humanism, diversity, meaningfulness, and cultural awareness. Occupation-based framework is another core thread that serves to strengthen this fundamental idea.

In addition, based on the Philosophy of Occupational Therapy Education (AJOT 2014), occupational therapy is "influenced by emerging knowledge and technologies" (p. 1). This philosophy guides the program curricular thread of evidence-based practice. The faculty are committed to infusing theoretical knowledge, research analysis, clinical application, and generation of new research throughout the curriculum. Another key thread highlighted throughout the curriculum is clinical reasoning where students apply ethical and scientific principles to engage in problem-based and active learning experiences.

Strands and Threads of the Curriculum

The OT Master's program curriculum is designed to prepare students to become generalist entry-level practitioners. This is a program where each experience builds on the next, and each semester builds on the previous one. This program consists of five semesters and one summer of didactic graduate study, and 32 weeks of full-time supervised clinical experience. Both didactic and clinical experiences are scaffolded upon five strands of knowledge:

  1. Science:
    Prerequisite undergraduate courses in chemistry, biology, physics, and mathematics, and graduate health science in the professional phase
  2. Humanities:
    Prerequisites in philosophy and the social and psychological sciences
  3. Applied Science:
    The occupational therapy theory course sequence
  4. Clinical Science:
    Research sequence (three courses) leading to the Masters' thesis
  5. Clinical Skills:
    Courses in mental health and physical disabilities, as well as clinical fieldwork affiliations

Woven through the five strands are five thematic threads that strengthen the curriculum and support the program's mission and goals:

  1. Client-centered practice:
    Promoting the client-centered approach in all courses throughout the curriculum. Students learn to engage their clients in the OT intervention process to achieve therapeutic goals in daily functional performance.
  2. Ethical interaction:
    Interaction with the client in a way that follows the Occupational Therapy Code of Ethics (2010).
  3. Occupation-based practice:
    Fostering the use of occupation in all components of occupational therapy process to promote functional independence and participation in daily activities.
  4. Evidence-based practice:
    A process whereby learners are actively explore and retrieve the best available evidence to advance their clinical practice and clinical reasoning
  5. Clinical reasoning:
    Questioning assumptions, beliefs, and values, considering multiple points of view, and synthesizing this knowledge in learning.

Program Goals

The OT program's goals describe the overreaching goals that we aspire to see in the graduates as future occupational therapy practitioners. These goals are in alignment with the NYIT Mission and the OT Department Mission. Upon completion of the program, graduates will:

  1. Demonstrate broad knowledge of the biological, physical, social, and behavioral sciences as the foundation for the practice of occupational therapy.
  2. Achieve entry-level competence in the didactic and fieldwork education.
  3. Demonstrate the cultural knowledge and skills to translate occupational therapy knowledge to assessment, interventions, and evidence-based practice.
  4. Be prepared to apply therapeutic use of occupations with clients to facilitate functional independence and participation in role-relevant daily activities in a variety of settings.
  5. Be prepared to appropriately select and administer assessments that address physical, cognitive, psychosocial, sensory, and culturally-relevant aspects of performance in different contexts.
  6. Be prepared to design and implement intervention plans to address physical, cognitive, psychosocial, sensory, and culturally-relevant aspects of performance in different contexts.
  7. Be prepared to seek and utilize evidence and professional knowledge to enhance their clinical and professional practice.
  8. Acknowledge and comply with the ethical and clinical standards in the profession.
  9. Understand the roles of other practitioners in the healthcare system and present the role of occupational therapists in a process where other disciplines are involved.
  10. Advocate the role of occupational therapy in different healthcare and community settings.
  11. Be prepared to utilize the evidence and relevant research findings to improve their clinical practice and advance the quality of service provided by occupational therapy.

Student Learning Outcomes

The student learning outcomes describe what a student in the MS OT program will be able to do in terms of clinical competences:

  • Demonstrate excellent communication skills in clinical documentation, client interactions and presentation of occupation-based practice.
  • Synthesize and apply knowledge from the humanities and sciences as a foundation for understanding occupation across the lifespan in a global society.
  • Describe and explain the basic tenets of occupational therapy including the history, philosophy, and the occupational therapy framework.
  • Describe and explain relevant occupational therapy theories, models, and examine frames of reference.
  • Select, utilize and interpret appropriate screening and evaluations based on client needs, available evidence, theoretical perspectives, models of practice and frames of reference.
  • Create and implement intervention plans designed to facilitate occupational therapy practice appropriately.
  • Analyze differences among various contexts of service delivery and adapt occupational therapy practice accordingly.
  • Apply the principles of organizational management and supervision in the provision of occupational therapy services.
  • Use research literature to make evidence-based decisions, and conduct original occupational therapy research to contribute to the professions body of knowledge.
  • Understand and apply the Occupational Therapy Code of Ethics in occupational therapy practice.
  • Identify the range of technologies used in occupational therapy and explain their implementation for use in practice.
  • Demonstrate strong abilities to work collaboratively on teams.
  • Demonstrate cultural competence.
  • Advocate for issues that relate to the field of occupational therapy locally, nationally and globally.
  • Demonstrate entry-level competence as occupational therapy generalists in each fieldwork placement.

NYIT Occupational Therapy Faculty and Staff

DIRECTORY

Razan Hamed, Ph.D., OTR/L
Program Director
Chairperson and Associate Professor
Riland, Room 333
516.686.3863
gciani@nyit.edu

Kelly A. Lavin, MS, OTR/L
Assistant Professor and Academic Fieldwork Coordinator
Riland, Room 343
516.686.3915
klavin02@nyit.edu

Melanie Austin-McCain, MPA, OTD, OTR/L
Assistant Professor
Riland, Room 361
516.686.1131
mausti04@nyit.edu

Ellen Greer, PhD, OT/L, LP
Assistant Professor
Riland, Room 334
516.686.3862
egreer@nyit.edu

Christina Finn, MS, OTR/L
Assistant Professor
Riland, Room 343
516.686.1220
cfinn02@nyit.edu

Robert G. Gallagher, MBA, DC
Associate Professor
Riland, Room 362
516.686.3886
rgalla02@nyit.edu

Pamela Karp, MHS, OTR/L, CHT
Assistant Professor
Riland, Room 348
516.686.3783
pkarp@nyit.edu

Jessica Triola, MA
Administrative Assistant
Riland, Room 333
516.686.1058
jtriola@nyit.edu

Other Important Information

Occupational Therapy Department Address:
New York Institute of Technology
Northern Blvd., P.O. Box 8000
Riland Building, Room 333
Old Westbury, NY 11568-8000

Other Important Offices

Biographies of Faculty and Staff

Razan Hamed, Ph.D., OTR/L
Associate Professor and Program Director
Department of Occupational Therapy

  • BSc in Occupational Therapy, University of Jordan
  • MS in Occupational Therapy, University of Pittsburgh
  • PhD, in Occupational Therapy, University of Pittsburgh

Dr. Hamed graduated with a Ph.D. in rehabilitation sciences from the University of Pittsburgh. She has worked in different clinical areas including mental health and neurological disorders. Hamed has taught several courses in occupational therapy such as research methods, psycho-social disorders, clinical reasoning, management and leadership, and neurological dysfunctions. She has had a number of research articles and projects regarding the adaptation of assessment tools for OT practitioners, and the exploration of the effect of environment on well-being and functioning in a number of clinical populations. Hamed has submitted, and is currently working on obtaining, research grants to understand the rehabilitation of individuals with substance abuse.

Ellen Greer, PhD, OT/L, LP
Assistant Professor
Department of Occupational Therapy

  • BA in Education, City University of New York
  • MA in Occupational Therapy, New York University
  • PhD in Occupational Therapy, New York University

Dr. Greer has extensive clinical experience in mental health in both individual and group practice from early to elder years. She is a qualitative researcher interested in examining how individuals transform adversity into creative occupations when living with illness and/or social injustices. Dr. Greer is author of "Women's Immersion in a Workfare Program: Emerging Challenges for Occupational Therapists".

Melanie Austin McCain, MPA, OTD, OTR/L
Assistant Professor
Department of Occupational Therapy

  • BS in Occupational Therapy, NYIT
  • MPA in Healthcare Policy and Non-Profit Management, Baruch College, CUNY
  • Clinical Health and Fitness Instructor candidate, American College of Sports Medicine
  • OTD, Temple University

Dr. Austin-McCain's experience includes clinical behavioral health services and program development in community-based settings. Dr. Austin-McCain developed the clinical OT program, Parent Center and staff wellness programs at Henry Street Settlement. Her research interests focus on leadership and health promotion for youth, student-athletes, women and underserved populations. She is the founder of community wellness and prevention programs for at risk youth and women's empowerment. Dr. Austin-McCain was inducted in the NYIT Athletics Hall of Fame in 2008.

Kelly A. Lavin, MS, OTR/L
Assistant Professor and Academic Fieldwork Coordinator
Department of Occupational Therapy

  • BS in Occupational Therapy, New York Institute of Technology
  • MS in Occupational Therapy, Boston University
  • OTD Candidate, Boston University, expected graduation 2015

Dr. Lavin has 15 years of experience in all areas of pediatrics across the spectrum of care, including early intervention, inpatient, school based therapy, and private practice. She has extensive experience working with individuals diagnosed with a various developmental conditions and sensory dysfunction. She has presented to health care professionals on the topic of sensory integration, and provides parent education lectures on the topic sensory dysfunction, social skills, and motor skill development. Her current research interests include executive dysfunction and sensory integration. Dr. Lavin is also an active member of the American Occupational Therapy Association, the New York State Occupational Therapy Association and Chair of the Metropolitan Occupational Therapy Education Council of New York.

Christina Finn, MS, OTR/L
Assistant Professor,
Department of Occupational Therapy

  • BS in Occupational Therapy, University of Scranton
  • MS in Occupational Therapy, University of Scranton
  • Ed.D candidate, University of New England, expected graduation 2018

Professor Finn has 10 years of experience in all areas of physical rehabilitation across the spectrum of care, including acute care, inpatient, and outpatient rehabilitation. She has extensive experience working with individuals diagnosed with a various neurological conditions, with a specialty in visual, vestibular and perceptual rehabilitation. She has presented to various health care professionals on the topic of vision rehabilitation and its impact on daily living skills and has developed vision rehabilitation training modules for occupational therapists in a large academic medical center. Professor Finn has co-authored articles in vision and fine motor coordination as well as post-concussion syndrome for OT Practice. Her current research interests include mild traumatic injury, visual perceptual skills, and development of clinical reasoning and professional behaviors in occupational therapy students. Professor Finn is an active member of AOTA and WFOT.

Robert G. Gallagher, MBA, DC
Associate Professor,
Department of Occupational Therapy

  • BS in Accounting, St. John's University
  • MBA in Finance, St. John's University
  • DC, New York Chiropractic College

Dr. Gallagher has maintained a chiropractic and personal training practice for the past 25 years. His focus has been on rehabilitation, and strength and conditioning. He is a Certified Chiropractic Sports Practitioner. He has certifications from the American College of Sports Medicine and the National Strength and Conditioning Association. Dr. Gallagher has been teaching in the health and fitness field for 20 years.

Pamela Karp, MHS, OTR/L, CHT
Assistant Professor,
Department of Occupational Therapy

  • BS in Occupational Therapy, Stony Brook University
  • MHS in Occupational Therapy, University of Florida

Professor Karp has 16 years of experience in the area of upper extremity/hand therapy. She has been a Certified Hand Therapist since 2005. She has practiced in outpatient, school based and acute care settings. She has extensive experience in the management of traumatic hand injuries and custom orthotic fabrication. Professor Karp has presented on various topics at the national level, including occupational therapy fieldwork, upper extremity ergonomics, and professional advocacy. She has been an invited guest lecturer in a number of occupational therapy programs. Professor Karp co-authored a Disabilities Studies textbook chapter, which is currently under publisher review. Professor Karp is working towards an Ed.D degree through Concordia University. Her research interests include translation of knowledge with a focus on student carryover from classroom to clinic and professional practice.

Jessica Triola, MA
Administrative Assistant,
Department of Occupational Therapy

  • BA in Psychology, Minor in Sociology
  • MA in Psychology, Adelphi University

Ms. Triola received her Master's in psychology from Adelphi University. She has a long experience in administration and managing academic operations. She is a great asset to the faculty members and the department. She manages the department daily operations including student issues, scheduling, communication with different NYIT offices, arranging student activities and coordination with different departments in the school.

Department of Occupational Therapy Advisory Board

The Department of Occupational Therapy's newly-developed advisory board is comprised of a group of volunteers with diverse backgrounds and an interest in providing input to the program. The members include students, practitioners, consumers, vendors and alumni who are invited to serve by the Chair of the Department of Occupational Therapy.

Membership in Professional Organizations

Professional associations set standards for the profession and work for the practitioner in a number of ways: professional meetings, advocacy, lobby activities, continuing education, information, consultation, publications, product discounts, group insurance, grants, loans, scholarships and the opportunity for professional growth and recognition.

Students in a professional program are encouraged to join, at student rates, the organizations that represent and support the profession. Membership allows the student to vote on matters of importance to the profession and to become acquainted with student members from other schools at local, state, national and international meetings.

American Occupational Therapy Association

Founded in 1917, the American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA) is the oldest health professional society. The mission of AOTA is to "… advance the quality, availability, use, and support of occupational therapy through standard setting, advocacy, education, and research on behalf of its members and the public." One of the primary objectives of AOTA is to promote high professional standards and the continuing competence of occupational therapy practitioners throughout their careers. Being an AOTA member is an excellent way to learn how to become an active participant in the profession. 4720 Montgomery Drive, PO Box 31220, Bethesda, Maryland 20824-1220. (301) 652-2682.

NYIT Student Occupational Therapy Association (SOTA)

SOTA is a NYIT student organization. The organization provides opportunities to meet fellow students, get to know the faculty and become involved in professional activities. In addition to fund raising activities (to help send students to professional meetings and sponsor educational programs), there are regular meetings for both educational and social events. Membership and participation in the organization maximizes the school experiences, as the student takes on a professional role through SOTA activities.

New York State Occupational Therapy Association

The New York State Occupational Therapy Association (NYSOTA) mission "… is to promote the profession of occupational therapy and to represent the occupational therapy practitioners who work and live in New York State." NYSOTA, 119 Washington Avenue, 2nd floor Albany, NY 12210 Phone: 518-462-3717 Fax: 518-432-5902). NYSOTA has eight districts throughout the State; membership in the state association is through the districts. The Long Island District and the Metropolitan District serve this area.

World Federation of Occupational Therapists (WFOT)

Organized in 1951 in Liverpool, England, WFOT has as its mission the promotion of standards for occupational therapy education, maintenance of ethics of the profession and the promotion of standards of practice through an international exchange of information. Membership is obtained through the American Occupational Therapy Association.

General Information

Address and Telephone Changes

It is the responsibility of each student to maintain a current residential address and phone number on file with the Department of Occupational Therapy. The department will not be held responsible for consequences incurred due to address changes that are not reported.

Computers

Students are required to have access to a computer in order to access educational resources utilized throughout the curriculum. Additionally, students are expected to check their official NYIT email daily for communications from NYIT faculty and staff. There are numerous computer labs on campus; please refer to the NYIT website for the locations of these labs.

Copies

There are various copier machines located throughout campus (e.g. the library, computer labs in Harry Schure Hall). Copy machines in the Riland Building are not available for student use.

Lockers

Students will be issued lockers upon request. Contact the Department of Occupational Therapy Administrative Assistant in order to get the locker assignment. Students must comply with the regulations regarding use of lockers. Depending upon enrollment, students may have to share a locker with another student.

Mail and Mailboxes

The Department of Occupational Therapy's faculty and staff mailboxes are located in Room 363 in the Riland Building. Occupational therapy students also have one shared mailbox in this room should faculty members or staff have to leave them any mail.

Recording Lectures and Labs: Audio or Video

Permission from the instructor is required prior to audio or video taping any class.

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Curriculum Description and Requirements

Overview of MS Occupational Therapy Curriculum

OT Degree Map

Technical Standards

All applicants for admission into the occupational therapy major are required to review the program's Technical Standards at the time of the admission interview and to inform the faculty during the interview if there are any pre-admission concerns. The student is obligated to report to their faculty advisor any change in status during the course of study that may interfere with learning. Please see Appendix C.

Graduation Requirements

Students are recommended for graduation upon satisfactory completion of all academic and clinical education requirements. The following are required:

  • Satisfactory completion of all required courses.
  • Overall graduate GPA of 3.0.
  • File a completed application for graduation with the Student Enrollment Center.
  • Bursar account clearance.
  • Recommendation of the occupational therapy faculty and program director.

It is important to know that the student advisor is available for help and guidance, but the student assumes final responsibility for conforming to all college regulations and curriculum requirements. This means that the student must make certain that transfer credit has been documented for all courses, and that grades are entered for all courses taken in advance of graduation. A student's failure to follow up on transfer credit could result in a delay in documentation of eligibility for a temporary license to practice (from the New York State Department of Education), or to sit for the NBCOT examination.

Fieldwork

Fieldwork experiences are central to the professional development of the occupational therapy student by exposing him/her to a variety of practice settings and populations. NYIT's Department of Occupational Therapy has a curriculum where fieldwork experiences complement classroom experiences so that the student may have the opportunity to integrate clinical theory into practice.

In Level I Fieldwork the student begins to integrate academic learning with clinical practice through direct observation. It is a required component of a course each fall and spring semester, with the exception of the third professional year (See Curriculum Overview). If a student fails to pass Level 1 fieldwork, a grade of "F" will be assigned to the course. The student will be required to decelerate/step out of the occupational therapy program and retake the course the next time it is offered (the following academic year). Upon successful complete of the re-taken course, the student may be admitted back into the program.

Level II Fieldwork is designed to immerse the student into occupational therapy's culture and process. In order to progress to each Level II fieldwork, the student MUST pass all required coursework prior to that Level II Fieldwork. The student is required to pass a total of TWO Level II Fieldworks (or three if taking the optional Specialty Fieldwork):

  • Level II (12 weeks)
  • Level II (12 weeks)
  • Level II Specialty Fieldwork (8 weeks)

Students must pass fieldwork in order to progress to the next level of professional studies.

The Academic Fieldwork Coordinator develops contracts with those clinical sites that meet the criteria for student supervision. Placements are made through the office of the Academic Fieldwork Coordinator. Students may be required to find and pay for travel and housing at out-of-town sites if there are not a sufficient number of slots in the local area. Students will not be placed in a fieldwork setting if not properly registered and/or the completed Fieldwork Packet was not submitted.

Under no circumstances are students to contact any fieldwork site to find an assignment; rather, information about prospective sites is to be referred to the Academic Fieldwork Coordinator.

Fieldwork Packet

All students are required to submit a completed packet of information in a single submission to the Department of Occupational Therapy's Academic Fieldwork Coordinator by the end of the first week of each fall semester. The packet should include the following:

  • Basic Life Support (CPR Card for the Healthcare Professional with AED)
  • Copy of Health Insurance Card
  • HIPAA Training Certificate
  • Personal Data Form
  • Student Health Evaluation (with immunizations, including PPD within one year)
  • Blood-borne Pathogens/Infection Control Certificate
  • Student Authorization Form
  • Pre-clinical Orientation

Failure to provide a completed packet, to the Academic Fieldwork Coordinator, by the due date will result in the student's name being taken off of the fieldwork assignment roster.

Students must retain original copies of these documents since the Department of Occupational Therapy will not provide copies to the student from files. Additionally, students must bring a complete copy of their fieldwork packet to the facility the day of interview or the first day of fieldwork.

Other Requirements

Blood-Borne Pathogens & Infection Control Certificate. Students must pass a mandatory course in Infection Control and Hepatitis, which will take place prior to the first day of Level I Fieldwork.

Criminal Background Checks. Be aware that placement in some fieldwork sites may require the student to submit to a background check and/or fingerprinting. The facility will notify student if s/he is financially responsible for these background checks.

CPR Certification. Students must obtain certification in Basic Life Support for the Healthcare Professional with AED. Training is available through the American Heart Association, the Red Cross, and some hospitals.

Health Insurance. Students must provide documentation of health insurance coverage prior to clinical fieldwork placements, which begins the first professional year. The cost of medical care is the responsibility of the student. Students may purchase a basic sickness plan.

HIPAA Certificate. Students must receive a certificate in the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) prior to the first day of Level I Fieldwork.

Immunizations. The Academic Fieldwork Coordinator will review the special requirements for working in fieldwork settings well in advance, so that the necessary immunizations can be completed prior to beginning the assignment. The student is responsible for the cost of these immunizations. Once in the professional phase of the program, the student will be required to submit an annual medical clearance form to the Academic Fieldwork Coordinator. Note that the immunization requirements exceed those of the college for students not in the Health Professions programs. Immunizations may include:

  • Measles, mumps and rubella titer test or immunization
  • Varicella titer test or immunization
  • Tetanus booster (within 10 years)
  • Mantoux TB screening
  • Hepatitis B vaccine series completed or initiated, positive titer, or a student-signed waiver

Membership to NYSOTA. Students are required to join the New York State Occupational Therapy Association (NYSOTA), the state's professional association. Membership is FREE for students.

Membership to AOTA. While not required, it is highly recommended that student join the American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA), the nation's professional association. Membership for students is at a reduced rate.

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Curriculum Policies and Procedures

Academic Standards and Policies

NYIT Academic Standards and Policies

School of Health Professions Grade Appeal Policy

Academic Standards

Because of the rigorous nature of the program, students cannot expect to work while enrolled full time.

Academic Criteria

The following criteria must be met throughout the professional phase of the Occupational Therapy Program:

  • Maintain a term and cumulative grade point average (GPA) of 3.0 at all times and in each semester
  • Have no grade below C in any course – students who score below a C are given an F in the course
  • Satisfactory professional conduct

Academic Probation

Automatic academic probation is imposed under the following circumstances:

  • Term GPA falls below 3.0 in any semester
  • Cumulative graduate GPA falls below 3.0 in any semester
  • Unsatisfactory professional conduct

Academic Dismissal/Failure

A student may be dismissed from the Occupational Therapy Program for any of the following reasons:

  • Term GPA falls below 3.0 in any two consecutive semesters.
  • Cumulative GPA falls below 3.0 in two consecutive semesters.
  • The student receives a grade of F in any course. At the discretion of the Academic Review Committee, students may be given the opportunity to repeat the course the following year (without progressing in the program), provided they were not already on probation, and/or there are no professional behavioral concerns.
  • A second F is earned at any time throughout the curriculum.

Non-Academic Dismissal/Failure

Students may be dismissed from the program for any of the following non-academic reasons:

  • Academic dishonesty/plagiarism
  • Behavior endangering others' safety or well-being
  • Disrespectful behavior towards faculty, staff, students, and others
  • Unprofessional conduct as defined by the professional behaviors delineated in the NYIT Department of Occupational Therapy Student Handbook
  • Unexcused absences/lateness

Grading Standards/Procedures

Students in the graduate program (i.e., the professional phase of the program) must have an overall graduate GPA of 3.0 in order to graduate. Refer to the NYIT Graduate Catalog (Grades and Credits, Academic Standing, and Student Status sections) to review the grading and quality point systems, which differ from the undergraduate system in several important details. Refer to Academic Probation and Failure/Dismissal, below.

Grading Scale
Letter Grade Numerical Grade
A90-100
B+85-89
B80-84
C+75-79
C70-74
F69 and below

Grade Rounding Policy: The Department of Occupational Therapy has a "no rounding" policy. Each grade, including the final grade, is calculated at two respective decimal points and the resultant grade is not rounded up or down. For example, a grade of 84.81 would result in a final grade of "B+", while a grade of 84.89 would result in a final grade of a "B".

  • Level II Fieldwork is graded on a pass-fail basis, i.e. a grade of either "P" or "F". Please refer to NYIT Graduate Catalog for more information on an incomplete (I) grade.

Consult the NYIT Graduate Catalog for information about grade appeals and calculation of the graduate GPAs (Grade Point Average).

Academic Advisement

New students in the professional phase are assigned an advisor (a faculty member) whom will counsel in regards to academic progress and professional behaviors. The student's advisor is available for help and guidance, and the advisor's signature is required on each registration, but the student assumes final responsibility for conforming to all college regulations and curriculum requirements.

Students must register for their first semester in person, during the scheduled registration hours. After the first semester, students will be advised, and then will register online. Should problems arise; the advisor can be reached by telephone or e-mail. Program changes can only be made with permission and the signature of the advisor.

Academic Integrity

Student integrity is a matter of concern in all educational settings. However, it is of particular concern in the health professions because of the special responsibilities that a health professional has toward clients. Therefore, plagiarism in a health professions program is a clear marker of student integrity, is a matter of grave importance. The NYIT Academic Senate adopted on May 18, 2000, the following statement for inclusion on all syllabi:

"Plagiarism is the appropriation of all or part of someone else's work (such as, but not limited to writing, coding, programs, images, etc.) and offering it as one's own. Cheating is using false pretenses, tricks, devices, artifacts or deception to obtain credit on an examination or in a college course."

If a faculty member determines that a student has committed academic dishonesty by plagiarism, cheating, or in any other manner, the faculty member may: 1) fail the student for that paper, project, assignment, project and/or examination; and/or 2) fail the student for the course; and/or 3) file a formal charge of misconduct pursuant to the Student Code of Conduct.

Plagiarism is always a serious matter, but it is of special significance in the health professions. Note that falsification of a medical record is a CRIMINAL, not a CIVIL matter.

Assignments, Examinations, Tests, and Quizzes

All written work must be typed, proofread and in APA style (6th edition). Unacceptable written assignments will be returned to the student to be rewritten and the student's grade will be lowered. All assignments must be handed in on or before the due date. Late assignments will not be accepted unless a prior written request is approved and signed by the course instructor. Written assignments will be graded on content, presentation (neatness, clarity, creativity, scope [i.e., addressing all parts of the assignment]) and on form (spelling, punctuation, grammar, and appropriate citations).

All reading assignments must be completed prior to the class meeting. Not all of the assigned reading will be covered during class time, but the student is responsible for the material. The instructors reserve the right to give unannounced quizzes.

Assignments not handed in on time will receive a grade reduction based upon the following:

  • 20% reduction in assignment grade starting at 1 day late to 5 days late.
  • 40% reduction in assignment grade starting at 6 days late to 10 days late.
  • No assignment will be accepted after 10 days late and will be given a grade of zero (0).

Note: This will be based on the postmark, email date/time, faxed date/time, or the date the assignment is brought to the instructor/OT administrative assistant. Assignments brought into the OT office must be signed and dated by the administrative assistant or faculty. It is the student's responsibility to insure that the course instructor receives the assignment. Timeframes for this late policy are subject to change at the discretion of the instructor.

Attendance

Students are required to attend all classes and to be on time. There are no unexcused absences allowed. Unexcused absences and tardiness are viewed as a lack of professionalism, and will lead to a lowered grade and/or dismissal from the Program. Any student unable to attend class is required to call or email the instructor PRIOR to class and leave a message where s/he may be reached at a later time that day. The student is solely responsible for making up the missed work and assignments. Records of class attendance, tardiness, absence emails and phone calls are kept in the student's file.

  • No "make up" exams will be allowed without proper documentation (for extenuating circumstances only) or prior approval. Do not ask for exceptions to this policy.
  • If a student misses a test or exam without previously contacting the instructor, the situation will be reviewed by the faculty and may result in a grade of "F" for that test or exam.

Educational Materials

All textbooks/software are costly; those dealing with medical subjects are especially expensive. However, the school years provide an opportunity for the student to set up a personal professional library that will prove of value for much longer than the semester of the course for which a book is purchased. Course instructors take this into consideration in the selection of texts and other materials.

Laboratory Classes

The laboratory courses provide a venue in which to practice skills. Students are required to attend all classes, to take care of the equipment, to participate in cleanup and to respect the tools and materials in terms of safety, maintenance and cost. Part of the grade for the lab work will be for the evidence of competence in the way that lab work is organized and executed.

Departmental Grievances

If you have a complaint about a course or a professor, and have not reached a satisfactory resolution with the professor, you should next speak to your academic advisor who will then bring the issue to the attention of the Chairperson if the issue perseveres. If necessary, you should provide supporting documentation as indicated relating to the matter. You can write to the Chair and if not resolved, write to the Dean. If the issue remains unresolved, you would then make an appointment with the Dean of the School of Health Professions. The Dean's office is located in the Riland Building, third floor.

Safety Issues

Throughout your academic and clinical education, you will be oriented to the issue of safety not only regarding the patients, but also for yourself as you practice and eventually work as an OT. The following will be addressed:

  • Patients' Bill of Rights
  • Safe and proper handling, lifting, and transferring techniques of patients
  • Safety issues involved in treatment techniques, including indications and contraindications, especially regarding electrical modalities
  • Confidentiality of patient information, medical records, statements made during work
  • OSHA and handling of blood borne pathogens
  • Proper use of body mechanics
  • Safety concerns during a practical examination or during a clinical affiliation experience may be grounds for failure

Professional Behaviors and Standards

Code of Ethics

Students are expected to adhere to the profession's Code of Ethics and to maintain confidentiality. See Appendix B: The Occupational Therapy Code of Ethics and Ethics Standards (2010)

Professional Etiquette
  • Computers and other electronic devices: Computers in the classroom environment should be used for note taking or instructor approved activities only. Web surfing, social media, etc. are not allowed and will result in loss of computer/tablet/smart phone privileges.
  • Breaks: Students should take advantage of formal breaks offered during lengthy classes. Only in rare instances, should it be necessary for a student to leave and return to the classroom.
  • Punctuality: Students should be on time to class and stay the entire session. If the student is going to be late or needs to leave early, arrangements should be made with the instructor prior to class. See absentee section for more information.
  • Cell Phones: All cell phones must either be switched off, or kept on vibrate or the silent mode during class sessions. Text messaging or taking calls during class or fieldwork assignment is not allowed.
  • Visitors: The program has a no guest policy. This is in keeping with the NYIT policy that states that students who are not enrolled in the course may not audit or attend classes.
  • Conversations: If students have questions, they should ask them at appropriate times, and should avoid talking and participating in other conversations during classes.
  • Email Communication: Students should communicate with the faculty members, advisors, department staff and Chair in a professional and respectful manner in terms of timing, language, content, tone, and response. Inappropriate communication is considered unsatisfactory student conduct and unprofessional behavior and will be taken seriously.
Professional Dress and Personal Appearance

It is important that the student be prepared to dress and groom professionally when assigned to clinical work. This means that students in the program must dress professionally for class. Most clinical settings allow slacks for women. Clean sneakers may be acceptable. Sandals can be hazardous; only closed toe shoes are considered professional. It is not appropriate to wear dangling jewelry or rings or long fingernails, which may interfere with the frequent hand washing required and which can present safety hazards in the operation of tools and equipment and the threat of transmission of infection. Makeup and hairstyles should be conservative. The hair must be styled so that it does not have to be brushed off of the face while working. Men are expected to be appropriately shaven. (Some clinical work may require the use of masks and gowns in order to prevent the spread of infection.) Students may be required to wear a white lab coat or lab jacket with the school insignia sewn onto the left sleeve while on a fieldwork assignment. In addition, the student must wear a nameplate or a photo ID. Some fieldwork facilities provide a temporary ID to be worn during the clinical assignment.

General Policies

Office of Accessibility Services

There are Technical Standards that describe the essential functions of the occupational therapy student at NYIT. However, special programs exist to assist students who are not native English speakers or have a documented learning disability. When a student applies for special accommodations, s/he must contact the Office of Accessibility Services. Speak to your student advisor if you would like more information about these programs.

Code of Conduct

The college Code of Conduct sets minimum standards for NYIT students. The standards for professional programs incorporate these standards and, in certain areas of behavior, are somewhat higher, reflecting expectations for behavior expected of a professional in the health field. (See Appendix A: Professional Development Form).

Confidentiality

Your student materials, grades, records, and files are considered to be privileged and confidential information. They are stored and locked when not in use in file cabinets within the Occupational Therapy Department. They are only accessible to Occupational Therapy faculty and clerical staff. No information from your record is given either verbally or in writing without your written consent. Information generated by NYIT may be released in accordance with NYIT policy.

Leave of Absence

A student may request a leave of absence from the occupational therapy program. The request must be made in writing to the Department's Program Director. The Program Director will review the request, and provide the student with a written approval or denial of the request. A leave of absence shall be granted for a maximum of one year. The student needs to notify the program director prior to the first day of registration for the semester s/he intends to return, based on curriculum design.

Gender Based Misconduct Policy

Please see NYIT's gender based misconduct policy.

Student Evaluation of Faculty and Courses

Students are required to provide on-going feedback on courses and faculty. Careful thought should go into these evaluations so that there are data to support modifications or changes.

Professional Development

Professional Development Feedback

Professional education is made of up four major areas: (1) the educational foundation provided by the required core courses or undergraduate prerequisites, (2) the knowledge and skills provided by the sciences and occupational therapy courses, (3) supervised fieldwork and (4) the process of socialization into the profession, the most subtle, and, probably the most critical, in assuring success as an occupational therapist.

This process is embedded in everything that you do as a student because the educational program provides the venue for the acquisition of behaviors that are the mark of a professional. Mastery of these performance skills is fundamental, and is a prerequisite to Level I fieldwork placement.

To help in measuring progress toward professional development, an appraisal form has been designed, based on a number of instruments in the literature. This form is to be used at the end of each semester by each student as a self-rating form and by your professors in the professional courses. In your advisement sessions, you will have the opportunity to review the form, comparing your self-appraisal with the ratings by your teachers. By watching your growth during your school years, plans can be made for appropriate learning experiences to maximize professional development. The form is self-explanatory, and provides a guide to professional growth.

Satisfactory professional development, as measured on the Professional Development Form and In-Class Professional Behavior Form, is a program requirement. Students who fail to demonstrate the required skills will be provided with guidance and may have points deducted off their final grade in a specific course in order to assure that they meet the established criteria. Failure to improve after faculty intervention could be grounds for dismissal, even if the student is meeting the academic requirements. See Appendix D for the Professional Development Form and the In-Class Professional Behavior Form.

Portfolio

An excellent way to participate in tracking professional development is through the active use of a professional portfolio. A portfolio is a collection of materials (papers, photographs, audio/video tapes, projects or samples of projects) that document competencies, credentials, skills and work experience. It is really a fleshed out, three dimensional version of a great resume. Getting into the portfolio habit will serve professionals well throughout life through the careful, judicious documentation the acquisition of new experiences and skills, and arrival at landmarks in both personal and career development.

Getting started is often a problem because of inertia, but maintenance of effort, that is, keeping the portfolio up to date, is even a greater challenge. At NYIT, occupational therapy students get a jump start on the portfolio, because of the requirement to share the portfolio with a faculty member at least once a year, or more often. Occupational therapy students are required to present a carefully prepared professional portfolio. See the Student Portfolio Guide for a guide on how to make your professional portfolio.

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Student Resources

College Identification Cards

Students are issued ID cards that are required to use the certain library materials (e.g. books and laptops), and computer facilities. The student must carry the card at all times while on campus.

Student Officers

Each year, each class will elect a president, vice president and secretary. These students will introduce and discuss any general student issues that may be present (e.g. broad issues related to the curriculum).

Graduation Awards

The Department of Occupational Therapy may present as many six awards at graduation:

  • Academic Performance Award: Awarded to the student(s) with outstanding academic performance in the occupational therapy program (highest overall grade point average).
  • Fieldwork Performance Award: Awarded to the student(s) who received the highest fieldwork rating from the clinical supervisor or to the student(s) who showed an outstanding and innovative performance during their fieldwork experience.
  • Community Service Award: Awarded to the student(s) with outstanding extracurricular activities directed to serving the local and national and global community.
  • Leadership Award: Awarded to the student(s) with outstanding record of leadership while in the program and whose activities are clearly reflected on the general body of NYIT OT students.
  • Research Award (Group): Awarded to the group of students with outstanding performance in a research project inside or outside the OT curriculum
  • Advocacy Award: Awarded to the student(s) who clearly exhibited the effort and commitment to advocate the OT profession and the NYIT image in the local, national, or global community.
  • Alpha Eta Honor Society Award: Awarded to the graduating student(s) with an overall grade point average of 3.8 or better (out of 4.0).

Honor Societies

  • Alpha Eta Honor Society for Allied Health Professionals was established in 1975. It is the national scholastic honor society for the allied health professions, consisting of approximately 12,000 members and 77 chapters in colleges and universities nationwide. Its purpose is to promote and recognize significant scholarship, leadership and contributions to the allied health professions. Student candidates must be enrolled in the last year of their academic program and have achieved a minimum cumulative grade point average of 3.8.
  • Pi Theta Epsilon (currently inactive) is a specialized honor society for occupational therapy students and alumni. The society recognizes & encourages superior scholarship among students enrolled in professional entry-level programs at accredited educational programs across the United States. The mission of Pi Theta Epsilon is to promote research and scholarship among occupational therapy students.

Scholarships

The OT program has scholarship opportunities with the New York Board of Education that may be available to qualifying students. In addition, scholarships may be available from the American Occupational Therapy Foundation, the New York State Occupational Therapy Association, and the World Federation of Occupational Therapists. Students will be alerted to any other scholarship opportunities that are shared with the department. Students should visit the Office of Financial Aid, located on the first floor of Harry Schure Hall on the Long Island campus, to find out information on all available scholarship opportunities.

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Appendix A: Certification/Licensure Procedures

New York State Licensure and National Certification for the Occupational Therapist

This is the information that you will need in order to be able to get a limited permit or a license in New York State in order to accept a job offer to work as an occupational therapist. Please note: You will NOT be able to take a job as an occupational therapist immediately upon completion of all course work. The licensure process involves several different agencies, and it can take as long as two to three weeks for papers to be processed in EACH of the agencies. If you are offered a job, let the prospective employer know that it may take a number of weeks for you to provide the documentation needed in order for you to practice.

The student, within designated time frames, must complete the following procedures. It is the student's responsibility to contact the NBCOT (National Board for Certification of Occupational Therapists) and NYSED (New York State Education Department) web sites in order to obtain complete, current, and accurate information related to licensure and certification procedures, guidelines, and deadlines.

  1. Complete all requirements for graduation
  2. Check that all grades are posted
  3. Go to NYIT Registrar's office to determine if all requirements for graduation have been met and are posted in the system after checking your records on nyit connect
  4. Fill out NYS Form 2 in NYIT Registrar's office
  5. File form 2 with NYSED
  6. Use the NBCOT web site to file for the certification examination

Notes:

  • All requirements for graduation: Coursework is complete (course requirements satisfied with passing grades; overall graduate GPA 3.0 or higher; no grade below a C in occupational therapy courses); grades posted by NYIT Registrar; bursar account satisfied; no "holds"; i.e., library fines, etc.
  • You can access your curriculum map on the Internet using your NYIT ID number (NYIT Connect). If there are any problems, contact the registrar's office immediately for correction. Make certain that all courses used for transfer credit are posted.
  • You can file for a temporary permit if you have a job offer prior to taking the certification examination. You will have to re-file for the license after passing the certification examination. You may also file for the license after passing the examination, rather than getting the temporary permit, if you do not want to work right away.

AFTER PASSING THE CERTIFICATION EXAMINATION, FILE WITH NYSED FOR YOUR LICENSE

Licensure and Limited Permits: A person cannot work as an occupational therapist until s/he has either a limited permit or a license. Licensure and limited permits are granted by the state in which a person will practice. In New York State, contact the New York State Education Department (NYSED), Office of Professions for applications and information at 518.474.3817. Students who have been offered jobs prior to taking or passing the NBCOT exam may apply for a limited permit by submitting an application (Form 2). The prospective employer and supervisor must co-sign the limited permit application. If Form 2 is used for a limited permit (the document which allows a person to practice while waiting to take the certification examination) a second Form 2 must be filed after passing the examination.

Registration (National): Graduates must pass the National Certification Exam administered by the National Board for Certification of Occupational Therapists. Please allow two-weeks from the time fieldwork grades are submitted to request official transcripts from the NYIT Registrar's Office. Confirm, with the Registrar's Office to be sure that your request has been processed and mailed to NBCOT two-weeks after you have filed your request.

Timeline for Registration

  1. Satisfactory completion of academic coursework
  2. Begin fieldwork
  3. Satisfactory completion of Fieldwork
  4. Hand deliver FWE and Student Evaluation of Site Forms SIGNED AND DATED ORIGINALS to the NYIT OT Department the first business day after completing fieldwork.
  5. When ALL forms are received (approx 1-4 weeks later) the OT Fieldwork Coordinator submits grades to the Registrar. The Chair of the OT Department generates a letter verifying names of all students who have completed the requirements for graduation. This letter is sent to NYSED, a requirement for obtaining New York State limited permits.
  6. Almost immediately after grade submissions by the Academic Fieldwork Coordinator, the grades are posted which means that the Registrar is able, at the student's request to send final student transcripts.
  7. The student may go on-line at any time to find out if the fieldwork grades have been posted.
  8. Once the student has a firm job offer, the student can bring the NYSED form to the job site to have the form signed by the licensed occupational therapist who will be supervising the graduate.
  9. At this time, the student can go IN PERSON to request that an official NYIT form is sent to NYSED and a second official transcript is sent to NBCOT stating that all requirements for graduation have been met.
  10. Graduates should plan to take the Certification examination as soon as eligible.

DEPENDING ON THE FACILITY, YOU CAN WORK ON A LIMITED PERMIT UNTIL YOU PASS THE CERTIFICATION EXAMINATION

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Appendix B: The Occupational Therapy Code of Ethics and Ethics Standards (2015)

The Occupational Therapy Code of Ethics and Ethics Standards (2015) is an official document published by the American Occupational Therapy Association and freely accessible to the public in an electronic format.

The document is regularly reviewed by AOTA and therefore we strongly encourage students to access this document directly from the link above. This document is described on the AOTA website as follows:

"The 2015 Occupational Therapy Code of Ethics (Code) of the American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA) is designed to reflect the dynamic nature of the profession, the evolving health care environment, and emerging technologies that can present potential ethical concerns in research, education, and practice. AOTA members are committed to promoting inclusion, participation, safety, and well-being for all recipients in various stages of life, health, and illness and to empowering all beneficiaries of service to meet their occupational needs. Recipients of services may be individuals, groups, families, organizations, communities, or populations (AOTA, 2014b). The Code is an AOTA Official Document and a public statement tailored to address the most prevalent ethical concerns of the occupational therapy profession. It outlines Standards of Conduct the public can expect from those in the profession. It should be applied to all areas of occupational therapy and shared with relevant stakeholders to promote ethical conduct."

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Appendix C: Occupational Therapy Technical Standards

Technical Standards for Admission and Matriculation to the Occupational Therapy Program

The NYIT Department of Occupational Therapy is committed to the admission and matriculation of all qualified students and does not discriminate on the basis of age, race, color, national origin, religion, sex, or disability. The college does not discriminate against persons with disability who are otherwise qualified. The college does expect that minimal technical standards are met by all applicants and students as set forth herein. These standards reflect what has been determined to be reasonable expectations for occupational therapy students in performing common and important functions, considering the safety and welfare of patients. These standards may not reflect what may be required for employment of the graduate occupational therapist.

Technical Standards

An occupational therapist must have the knowledge and skills to function in a broad variety of clinical settings and to render a wide spectrum of therapeutic interventions. In order to perform the activities required of a professional, an occupational therapy student must be able to learn, integrate, analyze, and synthesize data quickly, accurately, and consistently. This is the process of critical thinking. Multiple skills and abilities required include observation, communication, sensory/motor, behavioral, and social attributes. Reasonable accommodation can be made for persons with disabilities in some of these areas, but an occupational therapy student must be able to perform in a reasonably independent manner.

  • The commitment to work in an intense setting that challenges the individual to meet the needs of people of diverse cultures and age groups who are ill, severely injured, limited by cognitive, emotional, and functional deficits, and whose behavior may create, at times, an adverse reaction. The ability to interact with these individuals without being judgmental or prejudiced is critical in establishing a therapeutic relationship.
  • The ability to communicate verbally and in writing, using appropriate grammar and vocabulary, in order to build relationships with faculty, advisors, fellow students, coworkers, clients and their significant others. Proficiency in communication includes transactions with individuals and groups in learner, collegial, consultative, leadership, and task roles. Students must be able to elicit information, gather information, describe findings, and understand non- verbal behavior. This includes the ability to read and communicate, both verbally and in writing, in English, using appropriate grammar and vocabulary.
  • The ability to travel independently to and from classes and fieldwork assignments on time, as well as possess the organizational skills and stamina for performing required tasks and assignments within allotted time frames. (This travel is at the student's expense.) A driver's license and a car are needed for on- and off-campus travel.
  • Commitment to adherence of policies of the college, of the occupational therapy program, and of the fieldwork sites. These rules include matters relating to professional dress, behavior, and confidentiality.
  • Professional competence and moral character that meet state licensure guidelines.
  • Emotional health for full utilization of intellect, the exercise of good judgment, prompt completion of responsibilities, and the development of mature, sensitive, and effective relationships with others. Working with persons in need often requires taxing workloads and adaptation to changing and challenging environments requiring flexibility and a spirit of cooperation.
  • Critical thinking skills in order to be able to problem solve creatively, to master abstract ideas, and to synthesize information in order to handle the challenges of the academic, laboratory, and fieldwork settings.
  • Physical coordination and strength to be able to handle moving clients and to direct clients in varied practice settings. Visual acuity and independent mobility, fine and gross movements, equilibrium, and the use of touch (touching and being touched) are essential to assure safety of clients, significant others, and staff.

Technical standards are defined as "all nonacademic criteria that are essential to participate in the program in question". The following material is based on the handbook, Educating Students with Disabilities (American Occupational Therapy Association [1997] and on New York College of Osteopathic Medicine [undated])

Technical standards are nonacademic admission requirements, related to the essential nature of the program, which must be met by all students admitted to the program. The standards include personal and professional traits. Some of these requirements include skills and experiences, physical, sensory, medical and emotional competencies and safety issues. The criteria may be objective or subjective, but are the same for all applicants. The standards must:

  • be nonacademic
  • be requisite for admission
  • be related to essential function of the educational program at NYIT and at fieldwork sites.
    Note: each of these agencies may have set of technical standards which could differ from these standards. The NYIT program in occupational therapy does not disclose information about a student's disability to the clinical sites. It is the prerogative of the student to decide whether or not to disclose this information to the supervisor at the clinical site in order to request reasonable accommodations.
  • apply to all students
  • not be established to discriminate for or against a person with disability
  • ensure that the student can benefit from the program.

The ability to function in a job as an occupational therapist is not relevant; rather, these standards focus solely on the competencies required for success in the NYIT course of study.

There are number of multiple skills and abilities required for success in the program in occupational therapy. These requirements are listed below in the following categories:

  1. General Admission Requirements
  2. Behavioral and Social Attributes
  3. Communication Skills
  4. Strength, Mobility and Emotional Health
  5. Cognitive skills
  6. Sensory Function

Reasonable accommodations can be made for persons with disabilities in some of the areas, but the student must be able to perform independently. These standards are based upon expectations of the student in the professional program in occupational therapy and are guided by the need to assure the safety and welfare of clients in need of services by a professional occupational therapist.

I. General Admission Requirements

An occupational therapist must have the knowledge and skills to function in a broad variety of clinical situations and be able to provide a wide spectrum of therapeutic interventions. In order to perform the activities required of a professional, the student must be able to learn, integrate, analyze and synthesize data quickly, accurately and consistently.

A student entering the professional phase of the program must have demonstrated the following technical competencies in order to be able to learn through action, experience and communication, as guided by the philosophy of pragmatism that underlies our program design:

  • To be considered for admission into the program, the student must provide documentation by a dated letter of reference on official stationery, of one hundred hours of volunteer work under the supervision of a licensed occupational therapist; a second professional letter of reference; a personal statement describing the student's interest in occupational therapy. In addition, the students must participate in the admission process, requiring half a day on the college campus during which time there will be a personal interview, an opportunity for questions, and time allotted to write an on-site essay on an assigned topic. At the time of the interview, the applicant reviews the program Technical Standards, and has an opportunity to discuss any areas of concern, particularly with regard to the need for reasonable accommodations.

Full-time students in the professional phase of the program must be able to handle class-scheduling changes that can occur for any reason, and often with only short notice. This means that it is not possible for the full-time professional student to be employed, as attendance in all classes is required.

II. Behavioral and Social Attributes

  • The commitment to work in an intense setting which challenges the individual to meet the needs of people of both sexes, diverse cultures, some of whom may be economically disadvantaged, all age groups who are ill, severely injured, limited by cognitive, emotional, social and functional deficits, and whose behavior may create, at times, an aversive reaction. The ability to interact with these individuals without being judgmental or prejudiced is critical in establishing a therapeutic relationship.
  • Commitment of adherence of policies of the college, of the occupational therapy program and of the fieldwork sites. These rules include matters relating to professional dress and behavior on campus and in the fieldwork sites.
  • Professional competence and moral character, which meets state licensure guidelines.
  • Occupational therapists use touching as part of therapeutic intervention. Therefore, the student must possess the ability to tolerate touch and being touched by others of both sexes as part of the learning process. Touching must be done in a sensitive and professional manner. Laboratory exercises require that students wear shorts and tank tops in class.
  • Commitment to the Code of Ethics of the profession and behavior which reflects a sense of right and wrong in the helping environment.

III. Communication Skills

  • The ability to communicate verbally and in writing, using appropriate grammar and vocabulary, in order to build relationships with faculty, advisors, fellow students, co-workers and clients and their significant others. Proficiency in communication includes transactions with individuals and groups in learner, collegial, consultative, leadership and task roles. Students must be able to elicit and gather information, describe findings and understand non-verbal behavior.
  • Computer skills. Students must be able to demonstrate competence in the following computer skills: spread sheets, word documents, Internet searches, E- mail and on-line research, presentations, graphics, data entry and analysis.

IV. Strength, Mobility, Emotional Health, and Safety

  • The ability to meet the challenges of a medical environment that requires a readiness for immediate and appropriate response without interference of personal or medical problems. This requires training and certification for emergencies and other life-threatening situations. Training required includes, but is not limited to, certification in life support and infection control.
  • The ability to travel independently to and from classes and fieldwork assignments on time, and the possession of the organizational skills and stamina for performing required tasks and assignments within allotted time frames. This requires that the student be able to drive and have a car available for travel to and from school and fieldwork sites.
  • Emotional health for full utilization of intellect, the exercise of good judgment, prompt completion of responsibilities and the development of mature, sensitive and effective relationships with others. Working with persons in need often requires taxing workloads and adaptation to changing and challenging environments requiring flexibility and a spirit of cooperation.
  • Physical coordination to be able to handle moving clients and to direct clients in varied practice settings.

V. Cognitive Skills

  • Critical thinking skills in order to be able to problem solve creatively, to master abstract ideas and to synthesize information in order to handle the challenges of the academic, laboratory and fieldwork settings.
  • Intellectual curiosity sufficient to motivate independent professional reading and research.

VII. Sensory Function

  • Visual acuity and independent mobility.
  • Smooth, coordinated and sensitive fin and gross movements.
  • Equilibrium.
  • Therapeutic use of touch.
  • Hearing adequate for successful verbal communication.

Request for Reasonable Accommodations: A student who believes that because of a disability, she/he is entitled to reasonable accommodations in order to succeed in any class (or classes) must make an appointment with the NYIT Office of Accessibility Services. That office, after an appropriate evaluation, will provide the documentation needed, should it be determined that a reasonable accommodation is needed in order to assure success in the program. It is the student's responsibility to report any changes in his/her status to the Office of Accessibility Services that may have an impact on your ability to benefit from the program in occupational therapy.

Sign the Occupational Therapy Technical Standards

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Student Portfolio Guide

The Student Portfolio

An excellent way to participate in tracking professional development is through the active use of a professional portfolio. A portfolio is a collection of materials (papers, photographs, audio/video tapes, projects or samples of projects) that document competencies, credentials, skills and work experience. It is really a fleshed out, three dimensional version of a great resume. Getting into the portfolio habit will serve professionals well throughout life through the careful, judicious documentation the acquisition of new experiences and skills, and arrival at landmarks in both personal and career development.

Getting started is often a problem because of inertia, but maintenance of effort, that is, keeping the portfolio up to date, is even a greater challenge. At NYIT, occupational therapy students get a jump start on the portfolio, because of the requirement to share the portfolio with a faculty member at least once a year, or more often.

The portfolio can be done in any number of ways. Some people like to use an accordion file, label the sections (resumes, diplomas, awards, college transcripts, letters of reference, et. al.) and place things into the file as they are acquired. Others use file folders for the same purpose or a loose-leaf notebook. A loose-leaf notebook is easiest to carry and to review with a prospective employer. Whatever form your portfolio takes, it is important to keep the portfolio up to date, and then to make careful focused selections when called upon to make a presentation. Below are some ideas about the process. For more information on how to prepare a portfolio, check the library or Internet.

A PORTFOLIO is a collection of samples that communicate your interests and give evidence of your talents. You use your portfolio to show others what you have accomplished, learned or produced.

STEP I: Think about the kinds of samples to collect.

STEP II: Select and organize the samples you have collected which best tell your story.

STEP III: Prepare the oral presentation of your portfolio.

To make all of this happen, requires focus on the self, developing ideas about one's character (i.e., who), likes and accomplishments. Kimeldorf provides exercises that help you gather and organize your material. You will focus on a number of areas:

COMPETENCIES i.e., the things that one does well, that have been developed and/or acquired through experience, education and training. Some examples of competencies:

  • intellectual disposition
  • creativity
  • maturity
  • leadership
  • imagination curiosity
  • cultural perspective
  • commitment
  • problem-solving
  • sympathy
  • discrimination
  • excitement/enthusiasm
  • appetite for discovery

CREDENTIALS i.e.,

  • degrees
  • licenses
  • certificates
  • include specialization's
  • majors, minors
  • awards

SKILLS Things you know (knowledge) and things you can do (skills):

Things you know:

  • research, investigation; reading
  • negotiation
  • counseling; advising
  • decision making
  • evaluation
  • management
  • mastery of a specific body of knowledge
  • mathematical and quantitative reasoning: mathematical models; budget

Things you can do:

  • observation
  • logical reasoning
  • historical method
  • scientific method
  • research
  • listening skills
  • rhetorical style
  • organization
  • evaluation
  • improvisation
  • analysis/conceptualization
  • written/spoken language: precision, fluency, clarity, persuasion, concision
  • information processing; the ability to select, interpret, store and apply information

WORK EXPERIENCE The use of VERBS to describe work experiences is powerful; i.e.:

  • designed…;
  • supervised…;
  • taught…;
  • managed…;
  • created…, etc.

GLEANING

  • It is as important to know what to remove from the portfolio as it is to know what to add to the portfolio. The professional progresses and grows. Therefore, outdated materials must be removed. For example, a college senior should no longer use high school accomplishments to demonstrate competence. Update the portfolio at least once a year and always review it before making any presentation.

References

American Occupational Therapy Association Inc. (1997). Educating students with disabilities. What academic and fieldwork educators need to know. Bethesda, MD: the American Occupational Therapy Association.

Barnes & Evenson. Fieldwork challenges in Slaydyk, K. (Ed.) (1997). (1997). OT student primer. A guide to college success. Thorofare, NJ: Slack, Inc.

Breines, E. (2006). Occupations and activities from clay to computers. Theory and practice. Lebanon, NY: Geri-Rehab, Inc.

Crepeau, E.B., Cohn, E.S. & Schell, B.A.B. (2003). Willard and Spackman's Occupational therapy. Philadelphia: Lippincott Williams and Wilkins.

Kimeldorf, M. (1994). Creating portfolios for success in school, work and life. Minneapolis, MN: Free Spirit Publishing, Inc.

New York college of Osteopathic Medicine. (undated). Technical standards for admission and matriculation. Old Westbury, NY: New York College of Osteopathic Medicine.

New York Institute of Technology (2010). New York institute of technology graduate catalog 2010–2011. Old Westbury, NY: NYIT Office of Strategic Communications and External Affairs.

New York Institute of technology. Department of Occupational Therapy. (March 2004). Strategic plan.

New York Institute of Technology. Faculty Senate Minutes (5/18/00).

New York Institute of Technology. Occupational Therapy Fieldwork Manual, (rev. 2007).

New York Institute of Technology. Undergraduate Catalog (2003-2004).

Obler, D.R. & Avi-itzhak, T. (2001). Summary of the deliberations of the Occupational Therapy Faculty Committee for Strategic Planning. New York Institute of Technology, Department of Occupational therapy. Updated, March 2007, Plotnick, H..

Slaydyk, K. (Ed.) (1997). OT student primer. A guide to college success. Thorofare, NJ: Slack, Inc.

www.aota.org/general/about.asp, retrieved March 20, 2007.

www.aota.org/featured/area6/index.asp, retrieved March 20, 2007.


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