Inherent requirements

What are inherent requirements?

Inherent requirements are the academic and other requirements of a course that all students must meet to achieve the course learning outcomes, and the knowledge, abilities, skills and qualities students will need to have in order to achieve them. Please visit our inherent requirements page for more general information about them.

Occupational therapy is inclusive and welcomes diversity in the profession. A career in occupational therapy career will present you with an exciting range of opportunities.

There are a number of requirements that are inherent to being an occupational therapy student and to your work as an occupational therapist after graduation. This document aims to show you the range of skills you will need and provides you with some examples of what this may look like during your studies and in your future career.

Your ability to meet the inherent requirements might be impacted by a health condition or other (temporary or permanent) circumstances. Use this resource to determine if you are able to meet the inherent requirements to study occupational therapy and to become an occupational therapist. If you have concerns about meeting any inherent requirements then please let us know; this way we can work with you to understand how this might have an impact on your studies and future professional career. We can then explore adjustments and strategies that could be put into place to support you to pursue a career in occupational therapy.

The following information is specific to the Charles Sturt University Bachelor of Occupational Therapy and Bachelor of Occupational Therapy (Honours) Integrated.

Components

  • Level 1 - Introduction to the inherent requirement
  • Level 2 - Description of the inherent requirement
  • Level 3 - Explanation of why this is an inherent requirement of the course
  • Level 4 - The nature of any adjustments that may be made to allow you to meet the requirement
  • Level 5 - Examples of tasks that show you’ve met the requirement. These are examples only and are not a comprehensive list.

Requirements

  • Ethical and legal behaviour

    Introduction

    Occupational therapy is a registered profession in Australia. A registered profession is one that has been identified by the government as requiring sufficient qualification and regulation to ensure the safety of the public.  Occupational therapists are both accountable and responsible for ensuring safe and professional behaviour in all contexts.

    Occupational therapists in Australia are governed by:

    Description

    You will need to demonstrate:

    • Knowledge of, and engagement in competent, ethical and safe behaviour in practice.
    • Knowledge, understanding and compliance with legislative and regulatory requirements and standards. This compliance is a pre-requisite to workplace learning in order to reduce the risk of hard harm to self and others.

    Compliance with professional regulations and the Australian law.

    Justification

    Compliance with the codes, standards, guidelines and policies facilitates safe, competent interactions and relationships for students and/or the people with whom they work during workplace learning and in their future career. This supports the physical, psychological, emotional and spiritual wellbeing of all.

    Adjustments

    • Adjustments must ensure the codes and standards are not compromised or result in unsafe or unethical behaviour.
    • Adjustments must be consistent with legislative and regulatory requirements.
    • Adjustments specific to the individual can be discussed with Disability Services.

    Examples

    • Fitness to practice:  Registration requires students and practitioners to disclose any physical or mental impairment which may limit their ability to safely and effectively practice so that appropriate limitations to practice can be implemented to protect both self and others
    • Complying with medico-legal requirements about informed consent, privacy and confidentiality with client information in academic and workplace learning settings
    • Demonstrating ability to reflect on ethical dilemmas and issues and take responsibility for ensuring awareness of ethical behaviour.

    Complying with the policies of clinical facilities e.g. Work Health and Safety Act and uniform requirements.

  • Sustainable behaviour

    Introduction

    Occupational therapy study and practice requires sustained levels of performance across a typical working day.

    Behavioural stability is required to function and adapt effectively and sensitively in this role. You need to be consistent in your professional conduct and performance.

    Managing your own emotions and maintaining your physical and mental health and well-being is required.

    Description

    You will need to demonstrate:

    • Consistent and sustained levels of physical energy to complete tasks in a timely manner.
    • The ability to perform activities with a level of concentration that enables you to focus on the activity until it is completed.
    • Behavioural stability to maintain consistency and quality of your performance over time e.g. the working day.
    • Ability to adapt and work in diverse and dynamic university and workplace learning environments.

    Justification

    • Sufficient physical and mental endurance is an essential requirement. You will need to perform multiple tasks in an assigned period at university and in professional practice.
    • Behavioural stability is required to work effectively as a student and clinician.
    • Occupational therapy students may be exposed to emergency situations and human adversity and will be required to have self-management skills to utilise resources to manage these events.

    Adjustments

    • Adjustments must ensure that your performance is consistent and can be sustained over a given period.
    • Adjustments must support stable, effective and professional behaviour in both university and workplace learning settings.
    • Adjustments specific to the individual can be discussed with Disability Services.

    Exemplars

    • Participating in learning activities such as, lectures and tutorials, practical classes and simulations.
    • Participating in exams as required and completing assessments within the negotiated timeframe.
    • Providing consistent occupational therapy professional behaviour over a negotiated time frame while completing workplace learning.
    • Maintaining appropriate time management to provide healthcare services to the expected number of clients in a given time frame.
    • Being receptive and responding professionally to constructive feedback.
    • Being able to work effectively and safely with individuals and groups in tutorials, lectures, simulations and practical classes and during your workplace learning.

  • Communication

    Verbal

    Introduction

    Occupational therapists need effective verbal communication skills in English for professional practice and registration in Australia.

    Description

    You will need to demonstrate:

    • Sensitivity to individual and/or cultural differences.
    • Ability to initiate, understand and respond to verbal interactions accurately, appropriately and in a timely manner.
    • Ability to clearly provide timely information, feedback and reporting with language that is relevant for different audiences and contexts.

    Justification

    • Timely, accurate and effective delivery of verbal information can be critical to a person’s safety, and engagement with occupational therapy. Communicating in ways that display respect and empathy. Verbal communication reflects collaboration and facilitates the development of authentic professional relationships.
    • Verbal communication may need to be adjusted to accommodate a person’s communication skills or limitations (e.g. due to their age, injury, or health condition) or the needs of the audience (e.g. colleagues, groups and other stakeholders).

    Adjustments

    • Adjustments must address effectiveness, timeliness, clarity and accuracy to ensure safe and appropriate interactions.
    • Adjustments specific to the individual can be discussed with Disability Services.

    Exemplars

    • Active participation in discussions during tutorials, lectures, simulation and workplace learning.
    • Establishing rapport through verbal communication with occupational therapy stakeholders.
    • Interacting appropriately with people in tutorials, lectures, simulation and workplace learning settings.

    Non-verbal

    Introduction

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

    Description

    You will need to demonstrate:

    • Capacity to recognise, interpret and respond appropriately to non-verbal behavioural cues.
    • Consistent awareness and demonstration of appropriate non-verbal cues and behaviours e.g. suitable eye contact, body position, facial expressions in all interactions.
    • Sensitivity to individual and/or cultural differences

    Justification

    • The ability to observe and interpret non-verbal cues assists with building rapport with people and gaining their trust and respect in academic and professional relationships.
    • The ability to observe and interpret non-verbal cues is essential for safe and responsive interactions with people.

    Adjustments

    • Adjustments must enable you to effectively recognise, initiate and respond to non-verbal communication in a timely and appropriate manner.
    • Adjustments specific to the individual can be discussed with Disability Services.

    Exemplars

    • Recognising and responding appropriately to non-verbal cues in tutorials, lectures, simulation and workplace learning settings.
    • Conveying appropriate professional non-verbal behaviours during all interactions (e.g. with peers, university and workplace learning staff and other occupational therapy stakeholders).

    Written

    Introduction

    Effective written communication in English, is a fundamental occupational therapy professional and legal responsibility in Australia.

    Description

    You will need to demonstrate:

    • Capacity to construct clear, concise written communication appropriate to the purpose and audience.
    • Ability to complete written communication in a timely manner in accordance with the required format.

    Justification

    • Completion of written text-based assessment tasks is required to convey knowledge and understanding of relevant subject matter for professional practice and to reflect necessary academic standards.
    • Accurate written communication, including record-keeping, client notes and reports is vital to meet legal and professional requirements and to provide consistent and safe occupational therapy services.

    Adjustments

    • Adjustments must meet necessary standards of clarity, accuracy, and accessibility to ensure effective recording and transmission of information in both academic and workplace learning settings.
    • Adjustments specific to the individual can be discussed with Disability Services.

    Exemplars

    • Writing an essay to academic standards.
    • Completing client notes, reports and resources in a timely manner that meets legal and professional standards and takes account of health literacy principles.
  • Thinking skills

    Knowledge and thinking skills

    Introduction

    Occupational therapists need to be able to analyse and think about complex situations. Consistent and effective thinking skills are required to provide safe and competent practice.

    Description

    You will need to demonstrate:

    • Capacity to locate appropriate and relevant information that increases in complexity according to year level/level of practice experience.
    • Ability to critically analyse information relevant to practice.
    • Ability to integrate and implement knowledge in a range of practice contexts.

    Justification

    • Safe and effective delivery of occupational therapy services is based on integrating knowledge that must be sourced, understood and applied appropriately.
    • Flexible and dynamic thinking is required to actively problem solve in practice.

    Adjustments

    • Adjustments must ensure that you can effectively show your understanding of knowledge applied to theory and professional practice.
    • Adjustments specific to the individual can be discussed with Disability Services.

    Exemplars

    • Being able to demonstrate that you can understand and apply knowledge learnt throughout the course in assessment tasks and workplace learning.
    • Appropriately analysing and applying knowledge of theory and research evidence.
    • Following policies and procedures in the workplace learning setting to ensure safe practice.

    Literacy (language)

    Introduction

    Competent literacy skills are essential to provide safe and effective occupational therapy practice.

    Description

    You will need to demonstrate:

    • Ability to acquire and convey appropriate information.
    • Ability to read and understand a range of literature and information.
    • Capacity to understand, interpret and critique academic content.

    Justification

    • The ability to read, analyse, interpret and comprehend information from multiple sources.
    • The ability to understand, apply and accurately convey information is fundamental to ensure safe and effective occupational therapy practice.

    Adjustments

    • Adjustments must enable you to demonstrate your capacity to effectively acquire, comprehend, apply and communicate accurate information in all contexts.
    • Adjustments specific to the individual can be discussed with Disability Services.

    Exemplars

    • Understanding and applying spoken and/or written instructions accurately and effectively in academic and workplace learning settings.
    • Paraphrasing, summarising and referencing in accordance with appropriate academic requirements.
    • Producing accurate concise and clear occupational therapy documentation which meets legal requirements.

    Numeracy

    Introduction

    Competent and accurate numeracy skills are essential for safe and effective practice.

    Description

    You will need to demonstrate:

    • Ability to interpret and correctly apply data, measurements and numerical criteria.

    Justification

    • Competent application of numeracy skills is essential in occupational therapy.

    Adjustments

    • Adjustments must demonstrate a capacity to interpret and apply measurement processes appropriately in a timely, accurate and effective manner.
    • Adjustments specific to the individual can be discussed with Disability Services.

    Exemplars

    • Accurately recording measurements in client notes.
    • Understanding the process of recommending assistive technologies that correctly meets client measurement or requirements e.g. wheelchairs, home modifications
    • Interpreting results from research and using and applying this to assessment and intervention.
  • Sensory abilities

    Visual

    Introduction

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

    Description

    You will need to demonstrate:

    • Sufficient visual acuity to perform the required range of skills.

    Justification

    • Sufficient visual acuity is necessary to demonstrate the required range of skills, tasks, and assessments to maintain consistent, and accurate practice to ensure the safety of self and to others.
    • Visual observations, examination and assessment are fundamental to safe and effective podiatric practice.

    Adjustments

    • Adjustments must address the need to perform the full range of tasks involved in clinical practice. Any strategies to address the effects of the vision impairment must be effective, consistent and not compromise treatment or safety.
    • Adjustments specific to the individual can be discussed with Disability Services.

    Exemplars

    • Detecting subtle changes in posture movement and function during assessment and treatment.
    • Safely operating electronic equipment e.g. splinting equipment, heat guns and splinting pans.
    • Safely navigating in unfamiliar environments

    Auditory

    Introduction

    Auditory ability is required to provide safe and effective occupational therapy practice.

    Description

    You will need to demonstrate:

    • Sufficient aural function to undertake the required range of skills.

    Justification

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

    Adjustments

    • Adjustments must address the need to perform the full range of tasks involved in clinical practice. Any strategies to address the effects of the hearing loss must be effective, consistent and not compromise treatment or safety.
    • Adjustments specific to the individual can be discussed with Disability Services.

    Exemplars

    Listening and hearing a range of clients/groups.

    • Hearing level of breathlessness experienced by a client during an assessment/ intervention
    • Noting dangers in the environment outside of clinic spaces (e.g. sirens, cars etc)

    Tactile

    Introduction

    Sufficient tactile perception is required to perform competent and safe occupational therapy practice.

    Description

    You will be able to demonstrate:

    • sufficient tactile perception to safely undertake the required range of skills and assessments.

    Justification

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

    Adjustments

    • Adjustments must have the capacity to make effective assessments of physical characteristics and abnormalities within safe time frames.
    • Adjustments specific to the individual can be discussed with Disability Services.

    Exemplars

    • Detecting changes in pulse rate or temperature
    • Palpating joints, muscles, and soft tissues to detect anatomical or movement abnormalities.
    • Moderating pressure applied to people’s bodies
  • Strength and mobility

    Gross motor

    Introduction

    Occupational therapy involves physical demands and requires gross motor function.

    Description

    You will be able to demonstrate:

    • Ability to perform gross motor skills to operate successfully within scope of practice as required.

    Justification

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

    Adjustments

    • Adjustments should facilitate effective study and practice, safety of self and others and a capacity to provide appropriate care.
    • Adjustments specific to the individual can be discussed with Disability Services.

    Exemplars

    • Maintaining own and client’s balance while providing client support, when transferring and mobilising individuals in a safe manner or being able to correctly advise others.
    • Evaluating clients who have varying physical capacity when positioning on plinths and hospital beds, mats on the floor, on chairs and when standing in a safe and effective manner.

    Fine motor

    Introduction

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

    Description

    You will be able to demonstrate:

    • Ability to use fine motor skills to provide safe effective care.

    Justification

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

    Adjustments

    • Adjustments should facilitate effective professional practice, safety to self and others and a capacity to provide appropriate care.
    • Adjustments specific to the individual can be discussed with Disability Services.

    Exemplars

    • Performing assessment techniques, e.g. evaluation of hand sensation and joint movement.
    • Performing treatment techniques, e.g. fabricating splints, demonstrating use of adaptive equipment, demonstrating fine motor tasks during activities of daily living OR being able to direct others in performing these tasks.
  • Digital literacy and capability

    Introduction

    Occupational therapy requires skills to live, learn and work in a society where communication and access to information is increasingly through digital technologies.

    Description

    You will be able to demonstrate:

    • Ability to access and use technology and adapt to technological changes.
    • Ability to apply digital literacy skills to enhance occupational engagement for clients.

    Justification

    • Having the capability to understand and use various digital technologies in diverse learning and workplace settings
    • Understanding appropriate use of digital technology in various settings.
    • Being able to access and maintain currency across a range of programmes and platforms to deliver occupational therapy within the scope of practice.

    Adjustments

    • Adjustments should facilitate functional effectiveness, safety of self and others and a capacity to provide appropriate services.
    • Adjustments specific to the individual can be discussed with Disability Services.

    Exemplars

    • Able to use digital technology safely to access and enter electronic medical records (EMR), engage in Telehealth and use other relevant equipment.
    • Able to use computers to access online learning resources to support learning and professional development.
  • Financial literacy and capability

    Introduction

    Occupational therapy scope of practice requires the ability to understand and effectively apply various financial skills.

    Description

    You will be able to demonstrate:

    • Ability to manage personal finances (such as budgeting) in order to manage costs associated with workplace learning.
    • Ability to plan for the future costs of workplace learning by seeking financial assistance, scholarships and grants.
    • Ability to understand and work sensibly within budget requirements of health service delivery and cost of equipment/materials when working  in both private and public health sectors.

    Justification

    • Sufficient finances are required to meet the incidental costs involved in attending and participating in university learning and teaching requirements and when participating in workplace learning (WPL).
    • Planning and budgeting to meet these costs is important during Workplace learning when paid employment may not be possible.

    Adjustments

    Exemplars

    • Students are able to manage personal finances for study and workplace learning (WPL) requirements (such as budgeting for uniform costs, accommodation at university and on placement, internet fees, meals and associated travel).
    • Students are able to use available financial resources wisely to optimise their engagement within their course and with workplace learning, whilst looking after their own personal self-care.
    • Ability to utilise resources wisely to optimise client practice, and work within a client’s socio-economic circumstances.

Bachelor of Occupational Therapy

Acknowledgements:

Western Sydney University
https://www.westernsydney.edu.au/ir/inherent_requirements

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