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Occupational therapy

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What is Occupational therapy?

The World Federation of Occupational Therapy maintains that occupational therapy is a profession concerned with promoting health and well-being through occupation. The main goal of occupational therapy is to enable people to participate in meaningful activities of everyday living, for example self care, work and leisure activities. Occupational therapists believe that participation in everyday activities can be supported or restricted by physical, social, attitudinal and legislative environments. By enabling people to engage in activities that hold meaning for them, occupational therapists aim to enable people to improve their day-to-day quality of life.

Occupational therapy interventions consider:

  • The individual person – improving or maintaining their level of physical, cognitive (thinking), affective (emotional) and social ability.
  • The occupation – examining the self-care, leisure and work-related activities people value in their daily lives and making changes to these activities so that they better meet the individual’s abilities.
  • The environment – manipulating or adapting the physical environment so that it does not impede but, if possible, enhances performance; and influencing the social, cultural and institutional environment in ways that enable people to live as independent a life as possible and reach their full potential.

Occupational therapists work in a variety of settings, including community, hospitals, rehabilitation units, schools, universities and, reform centres. Examples of what occupational therapists do include:

  • Adapting the home of an elderly person to make it easier and safer for him/her to use.
  • Working with people with depression and schizophrenia using activities such as cooking a meal to foster a sense of achievement, develop personal skills and facilitate successful experiences.
  • Using play activities to improve the play and movement skills of children with cerebral palsy.
  • Running life-skills programmes that enable people with intellectual disabilities develop skills such as budgeting so that they can live more independently in the community.
  • Advising community groups about ways to promote health and maintain activity in their lives.
  • Enabling people to select and effectively use equipment and appliances, including wheelchairs, dressing aids, computers and other assistive technology, to increase their independence.
  • Assessing the ability of someone with acquired brain injury to return to work and then modify that person’s work (the job itself and the workplace) to enable this, where possible, to happen.

Is this the right course for you?

Yes, if you are a creative thinker who is open to finding solutions to a multitude of problems and if working with people with diverse abilities is something you enjoy and find stimulating. Visiting an occupational therapy department will give you more understanding of what is involved in this profession.

Occupational therapy at Trinity College

Occupational therapy is based in the Trinity Centre for Health Sciences in a purpose-built complex in the grounds of St. James’s Hospital. State-of-the-art teaching facilities at the O.T. school include a capacity for tele-conferencing. The Trinity Centre houses other health sciences disciplines including students studying medicine, physiotherapy, therapeutic radiography and nursing. This gives a multidisciplinary dimension to studying and working with other health professionals. The centre is about 2 miles from the main campus and is beside a Luas station on the line running between Tallaght and Connolly Station in the city centre. Courses which take place on the main campus in College Green, for example psychology, anatomy and social policy, expose students to the wider facilities of Trinity College.

Course content

This four-year degree course incorporates a practical approach to solving problems and fosters a research-oriented and reflective attitude. It embraces evidence based practice.

The Freshman years

The courses studied in the Freshman (first two) years include the study of occupation, occupational therapy theories and interventions with people from children to older adults, anatomy, physiology, psychology, disability studies, research methods and statistics. You will be encouraged to ‘learn by doing’ in subjects related to personal development such as communications and creative problem solving and in courses that teach the professional and technical skills of practice such as assistive technology. You will be required to engage in service learning through voluntary work and will use experiential learning and group work to develop knowledge and skills in an activity of your choice. During the first two years, there are a total of 11 weeks in supervised professional practice in a variety of health and community care facilities around the country.

The Sophister years

During the Sophister (third and fourth) years you will further develop your knowledge of the theories, principles and practice of occupational therapy; gain an understanding of health/social care systems and policies and of the importance of practicing in an evidenced-based manner. Service learning is continued and incorporates a peer education methodology. Additionally, you will complete a group research project. You will have opportunities to develop important self-directed learning and research skills, which are key areas for practice. Over the course of these two years, you will spend a total of 20 weeks in supervised professional practice.

Assessment

Assessment includes written examinations, essays, project work, presentations, a research project, and competency based assessment while on supervised practice education.

Study abroad

Students may have an opportunity to spend one or more of their professional practice training blocks abroad. To date students have studied/trained in Belgium, Scotland, Australia, and Canada.

Career opportunities

As a qualified occupational therapist from Trinity College Dublin, you will be well equipped to pursue a very rewarding career working with people of all age groups in a wide range of service settings. The course is approved by the World Federation of Occupational Therapists (www.wfot.org.au), which means as soon as you complete your degree you are qualified to work as an occupational therapist in Ireland as well as abroad. Many graduates from the Trinity College course are working in all parts of the world. Most occupational therapists, over time, develop specialised expertise in areas such as physical rehabilitation, mental health, hand therapy, intellectual disability, paediatrics, services for the elderly and community occupational therapy. Practice areas are expanding, particularly in school settings and in primary care community practices areas. Other examples include work in private practice, work with people who are homeless, and running healthy living and stress management clinics. A number of occupational therapists move into management – managing occupational therapy departments or other health/social care related services. Additionally, the course offers many opportunities for further study.

Did you know?

  • The course is the longest established university-based occupational therapy course in Ireland. It uses many innovative teaching methodologies, e.g. peer education, problem-based learning, as well as more traditional methods. Students and staff collaborate on projects that involve both research and service delivery in new areas of practice.

Further information

www.medicine.tcd.ie/occupational_therapy

E-mail: occupthe@tcd.ie

Tel: +353 1 896 3210

Specific Entry Requirements

Leaving CertificateHC3 In one of: physics, chemistry, biology, physics/chemistry or agricultural science
Advanced GCE (A-Level)Grade C In one of: physics, chemistry or biology
Other EU examination systemsSee www.tcd.ie/Admissions/undergraduate/requirements/matriculation/other/
Students accepted on to the pre-registration undergraduate Occupational therapy programme, prior to the frst practice placement, must be immunised against Hepatitis B, measles, rubella, tuberculosis and varicella unless immunity as a result of natural infection or previous vaccination has been documented.
GARDA VETTING:Students will be required to undergo Garda vetting.
SeeGarda vetting for further details.

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