Occupational Therapy Examination and Practice Preparation (OTepp) Program

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Publication Date

Wednesday, May 22, 2013 - 20:15

Implementation Year

Sunday, February 3, 2008 - 00:15

Type of Practice

Commendable Practices

Category

Human Resources

Sector

Public Health

Province

Ontario

This practice was recognized as an Emerging (Commendable) Practice by the Health Council of Canada using the Health Innovation Portal Evaluation Framework

SNAPSHOT:

This innovative practice demonstrates how to support and enable the transition of internationally educated occupational therapists (IEOTs) into Canadian practice.

PRACTICE DESCRIPTION:

The Occupational Therapy Examination and Practice Preparation (OTepp) Project was developed to support the transition of internationally educated occupational therapists (IEOTs) to Canadian practice. OTepp was created

• in recognition of the need for increased diversity within the occupational therapy (OT) profession;
• to meet projected workforce shortages; and
• to reduce barriers to labour market integration and inclusion of IEOTs.

The OTepp project at the School of Rehabilitation Science (SRS), McMaster University, received funding from the Government of Ontario from 2008 to 2013. OTepp partnered with the Canadian Association of Occupational Therapists (CAOT) and received additional funding from the Government of Canada to enable participation of IEOTs across the country and off-shore.

The project, based on problem-based learning (PBL) pedagogy and adult learning principles, has become a formal program offered by the SRS. Originally the project consisted of:

• four modules offered at McMaster University’s SRS. These modules covered exam preparation, mentorship, work readiness, and transition counselling. They were developed based on participant feedback and input from research team members on needs that were not being met. While the transition counselling module had limited uptake, the other modules have been or are being offered by the CAOT as part of OTepp’s sustainability plans. This ensures access for IEOTs as well as members of the broader occupational therapy community who may benefit from the learning and resources.
• a 23-week core curriculum model approved by the University Senate. This module entailed five academic courses and an eight-week supervised practicum. Based on annual course evaluations and reviews, the program has been extended to 29 weeks consisting of four academic courses and the eight-week supervised practicum. The academic courses are of equal length and depth, followed by a break that allows marking to be completed prior to students beginning their practicum. This module has been renamed the OTepp Certificate Program to reflect its status at the university.

McMaster University continues to offer this program to IEOTs face-to- face or online, which makes it accessible to IEOTs across the country and overseas. Project advisory committees include representatives from employers, regulatory bodies, and professional associations in order to ensure relevance to workforce and workplace needs.

IMPACT:

Findings from exit interviews and course evaluations show a high correlation between successful completion of the Certificate Program and passing the national certification exam. Most importantly, there are examples of IEOTs being hired by their practicum site upon completion of the practicum course. In addition, other data reveal a growing number of project graduates gaining licensure and employment following course completion.

Employers have offered placements nationally, resulting in shared learning about cultural differences and inclusion. The project has been fortunate to build partnerships with many large hospitals and community agencies. An important lesson learned is that partnerships are necessary, particularly with provincial regulatory bodies, to ensure the curriculum meets regulatory requirements. Future challenges include ensuring the long-term sustainability of the certificate program, given that many new Canadians have difficulty obtaining practicum experiences independently and are often unable to afford expensive tuition costs.

APPLICABILITY/TRANSFERABILITY:

The project model has relevance for other professions interested in supporting the transition of internationally educated professionals within their workforces. The modules may also be relevant for re-entry professionals or for practitioners who require remediation to obtain continued credentialing for practice.

CONTACT INFORMATION:

Primary Contact
Name: Sue Baptiste
Title: Professor
Organization: McMaster University, School of Rehabilitation Science
Email address: baptiste@mcmaster.ca
Telephone number: 905 525 9140 ext. 27804

Secondary Contact:
Name: Leah Dix
Title: Assistant Clinical Professor; Project Manager for the OTepp Program
Organization: McMaster University, School of Rehabilitation Science
Email address: dixlm@mcmaster.ca
Telephone number: 905 525 9140 ext. 26896
Information last updated on: April 3, 2013

Content was adapted from the following sources and relevant websites:
Other:
Baptiste, S. (2012). Content developed from an abstract submission for the Health Council of Canada’s National Symposium on Integrated Care.

Contact Information

Name: Sue Baptiste Title: Professor Organization: McMaster University, School of Rehabilitation Science Email address: baptiste@mcmaster.ca Telephone number: 905 525 9140 ext. 27804