Technical Performance Standards Required for Classroom,
Laboratory, and Fieldwork Experiences
Successful completion of the Master of Science degree in occupational
therapy at Grand Valley State University requires that students meet
specific cognitive, physical, and technical levels of performance.
These specific levels of performance are termed the “essential
functions” of the profession, and apply to the professional course of
study, clinical experiences students have throughout the course of
study, and throughout the actual practice within the field of
Students must be capable of demonstrating expected and
acceptable levels of performance in the following areas:
In the area of COGNITIVE skills, students will:
- Acquire, process, retain, and apply knowledge and information
gleaned from various instructional methods, including written and
oral formats, visual media, hands on laboratory experiences,
clinical experiences, and through self-directed learning.
- Complete reading assignments involving professional journals,
textbooks, and related sources that are directly or indirectly
related to the field of occupational therapy.
- Develop the skills necessary for analyzing, interpreting,
applying, and critiquing information stemming from assigned readings.
- Measure, calculate, reason, analyze, and synthesize information
specific to patient care.
- Apply theoretical concepts to practice-related problems.
- Effectively identify and solve problems using clinical reasoning,
theoretical application, and evidence-based practice skills.
- Use and apply appropriate mathematical and basic statistical skills.
- Recognize and appreciate the relationship between the client, the
environment, and the choice of intervention as well as how a change
in one of these factors elicits change in the others.
- Orally present information to classmates, instructors, as well as
- Participate in and appropriately share the workload within a group setting.
- Maintain attention for 2-3 hours without interruption, as well as
sustaining expected class performance and behaviors during days when
class spans 8-10 hours.
- Produce written documentation and assignments in the appropriate
- Recognize the need for and apply safety knowledge and judgment in
a variety of situations.
- Demonstrate ethical reasoning and decision making.
In the area of PHYSICAL skills, students will:
- Tolerance for a seated position for 2-3 hours with minimal
interruption, as well as sustaining this during days when class
spans 8-10 hours.
- Demonstrate the physical strength to assist and individually
perform all types of patient transfers and lifts from a variety of
surfaces and levels. This can include lifting over 50 pounds on an
- Demonstrate the skills and competence to transport patients in
wheelchairs and other mobility devices, as well as the ability to
assemble and disassemble the parts and accessories associated with
- Demonstrate the ability to perform expected job duties while
standing, sitting, or kneeling/squatting. These duties can include:
lifting, reaching, bending, stretching, pushing, or pulling in order
to support or assist a patient.
- Demonstrate adequate levels of postural control, eye/hand
coordination, strength, as well as integrated senses of vision,
hearing, tactile, vestibular, and proprioception in order to
effectively utilize and demonstrate common occupational therapy
assessment tools, equipment, devices, materials, and supplies.
- Tolerate close physical contact with others, including classmates,
instructors, patients, and clinical instructors for both educational
and practice purposes.
- Be capable of coordinating motor skills with environmental safety
concerns in order to effectively respond to emergency situations
quickly and appropriately.
- Tolerate travel to various fieldwork and community practice locations.
- Must effectively and sensitively communicate patient information
to patients, family members, clinical instructors, and other members
of the therapeutic team.
- Must be able to demonstrate either the auditory capability or the
use of an effective compensatory strategy to recognize the sounds of
power equipment, wheelchairs, as well as monitoring devices to
ensure patient safety at all times.
- Must be able to demonstrate the visual skills or a related
compensatory strategy necessary to accurately observe, describe, and
analyze patient performance in classroom, laboratory, simulation,
and fieldwork settings.
In the area of INTERPERSONAL SKILLS, COMMUNICATION SKILLS, AND
PROFESSIONAL BEHAVIORS, students will:
- Maintain appropriate emotional and mental health required to
exercise sound judgment, complete all assigned tasks, as well as to
develop and maintain appropriate therapeutic relationships.
- Demonstrate an array of positive interpersonal skills including,
but not limited to, cooperation, flexibility, empathy, and confidence.
- Collaborate effectively with classmates, instructors, patients,
family members, as well as members of the therapeutic team.
- Demonstrate the ability to effectively and clearly communicate
using the English language in both oral and written forms; this
includes utilizing proper spelling, punctuation, and grammar in
order to teach specific skills and procedures.
- Be capable of adjusting the level of language used to match the
skills and education level of the intended audience, including
patients, family members, classmates, instructors, as well as other
members of the therapy team.
- Demonstrate and effectively utilize active listening and
non-verbal communication skills to enhance therapeutic interactions.
- Be appropriately assertive as required to: participate in class
discussions, initiate and lead the therapeutic process, and to set
appropriate limits and boundaries with patients.
- Exhibit professional demeanor and attire at all times, both in the
classroom, fieldwork setting, and community lab experiences.
- Demonstrate organizational and time management skills in order to
prioritize activities, assignments, and responsibilities effectively.