Our professional (entry-level) master's degree program was developed to meet the needs of therapists who will practice in a highly complex healthcare environment. Upon completion of our program, the graduate will have a master's of science degree in occupational therapy and will be prepared to work in diverse practice settings with a variety of people. Graduates of our program are eligible to sit for the national certification examination.
Description of the program
The faculty are dedicated to preparing graduates to practice as competent entry-level occupational therapists in a wide variety of places including school systems, home health, hospitals, and community settings such as homeless shelters. We believe that the discipline of occupational therapy is unique and dynamic, grounded in core principles of occupation, but constantly influenced by new emerging knowledge and technologies. As such, the faculty are striving to develop an educational program in occupational therapy that consistently reinforces the necessity for life-long learning, the application of critical thinking and clinical reasoning, and constantly refine and improve professional knowledge and skills.
Excellence in Practice
Our motto "Promoting Excellence in Practice" is enacted in many ways throughout our curriculum. Opportunities for supervised experiential learning are abundant throughout the curriculum. Thus, students have many chances to have reflective learning experiences with faculty. Together, students and faculty are actively engaged in providing direct, indirect, consultative, and research-based services to clients.
Our occupational therapy program is designed to facilitate the development of excellent practitioners. To achieve that, we believe that students need experiences interacting with a diversity of individuals in a variety of settings. Therefore we have structured hands-on experiences throughout the program in addition to the traditional fieldwork requirements.
It is the vision of the Occupational Therapy Department to prepare occupational therapy graduates to enhance the occupational performance status of the citizens of eastern North Carolina, the state of North Carolina, and the broader community. We envision an educational community where faculty, staff, clinical educators, and students work together in an atmosphere of mutual respect, cooperation, and commitment to excellence in occupational therapy practice.
The mission of the Occupational Therapy Department is to foster excellence in occupational therapy practice through graduate education, research, and service. Specifically, we will 1) provide the community with competent occupational therapy graduates who are leaders in the field and who, as change agents, are responsive to the unique sociocultural nature of the region and its residents, 2) provide quality graduate educational experiences which facilitate development of high levels of critical thinking, analytical ability, and independent inquiry, and 3) generate research which advances the art and science of the occupational therapy profession.
The objectives of the occupational therapy curriculum are the following:
1. Prepare students to begin practice as caring, competent, ethical, and creative occupational therapists with professional mastery in the use of occupation appropriate to a wide range of populations and practice areas.
2. Provide students with the foundation of theoretical knowledge, technical skills, and values needed for quality occupational therapy practice.
3. Prepare students with the knowledge and skills to do clinical reasoning in order to assume the role of a health care professional who functions as an change agent by engaging patients/clients in meaningful occupation.
4. Provide students with the knowledge and skills, appreciation, and ability to use research which advances the effectiveness of occupational therapy practice.
5. Develop in students the appreciation and skills for life-long learning within a changing environment.
6. Provide the communities of our region, state, and nation with quality therapists who are responsive to an individual’s unique sociocultural nature and their environment.
7. Provide occupational therapy leaders and advocates to serve our region, state, and nation.
The occupational therapy faculty at East Carolina University believes that the discipline of occupational therapy is unique and dynamic, grounded in core principles of occupation, and is constantly influenced by emerging knowledge and technologies. As such, the faculty believe that the education of future occupational therapists must consistently reinforce the application of critical thinking and clinical reasoning, the necessity for life-long learning and the improvement of professional knowledge.
To develop and refine critical thinking, new material will be presented in a manner that reinforces the relationship to previous educational foundations, as well as its importance to future learning. The physical, social, and temporal environments will be incorporated in the learning process to facilitate the student’s development of critical thinking and acquisition of knowledge and skills. Structured courses, clinical experiences, and independent learning situations will be provided to develop and refine clinical reasoning. Students will be encouraged to become independent learners capable of assessing their own knowledge and able to use a wide variety of resources (professional organizations, books, journals, World Wide Web, folklore, personal experiences). A compassion for differences in student’s needs and learning styles will optimize academic and personal success. Faculty will serve as role models demonstrating the use of critical thinking, clinical reasoning and attention to individual differences. Through all of these approaches, students will gain an appreciation for critical thinking, clinical reasoning, and professional development through lifelong learning.
In order to improve professional knowledge and skills, students will have access to "real life" cases in the classroom and community. Through these "real life" experiences, faculty will facilitate reflection and shared feedback between peers and faculty about the uniqueness of each experience. The faculty believe that ultimately the students will be cognizant of and integrate the unique needs, lifestyles, and culture of each client while practicing occupational therapy.
The faculty believe that education constructed around these core principles will produce life long learners who are knowledgeable, skilled, and compassionate individuals. These individuals will be capable of entering the work force as competent occupational therapists, committed to the enhancement of client’s lives and the advancement of the profession.