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Nursing & Health Professions | OTA Student Handbook

Occupational Therapy Assistant


Welcome Accreditation

  • Trinity Washington University
  • Occupational Therapy Assistant (OTA) Program

Occupational Therapy Assistant Program Conceptual Framework

Expectations for Occupational Therapy Assistant Students




The purpose of this Handbook is to provide students with information about the Occupational Therapy Assistant program at Trinity Washington University.  The Handbook will supplement University and OTA Program policies as well as Occupational Therapy Assistant academic and fieldwork information.  This Handbook is reviewed each academic year and updated accordingly.  Student and faculty suggestions are valued as part of the regular review process. Please note the following general guidelines, which are also articulated in this Handbook and throughout University policy: The Dean of the School of Nursing and Health Professions and the Occupational Therapy Assistant Program Director and OTA faculty have broad authority and responsibility to ensure the fulfillment of academic expectations and requirements for all OTA students. While this Handbook provides general guidance, the Director and Dean reserve the right to make decisions in particular cases that are appropriate to the circumstances and facts presented. To that end, students must accept and follow the directions of their instructors in courses, their academic advisors, the deans of their academic units, and other legitimate campus authorities. By enrolling at Trinity, the student inherently accepts the rules of the institution and the directions of the faculty and administrative staff.  This includes accepting academic policies and procedures with regard to course schedules, registration, financial aid, payment arrangements, enrollment in specific courses, following course sequences, prerequisites and all related academic matters.   The deans of the academic units and the provost have broad final authority to resolve student academic issues.  Insubordination, which is the refusal to follow a legitimate direction, may be grounds for disciplinary action up to and including dismissal.

I.A The University Trinity Washington University has a Student Handbook which is a guide for students enrolled in all programs at Trinity. It contains:

  • Major policies
  • Processes and Resources

The Student Handbook is a companion guide to numerous other policy statements and guidelines contained in the Trinity Catalog, Academic Policies of the respective schools, and other policy statements available on Trinity’s website at Trinity reserves the right to amend these policy statements at any time.

I.B The School of Nursing and Health Professions Trinity’s School of Nursing and Health Professions emphasizes educating culturally competent health care practitioners who value patient care delivery resulting from and influenced by a patient-centered approach that incorporates technology and evidence-based practice to generate effective patient care outcomes. The liberal arts core provides students with the knowledge and skills necessary to think critically about how societal and professional conditions can enhance or impede the quality of care delivered, thus affecting patient outcomes. At the core of health professions is the ability to apply evidence-based practice, see the patient holistically, provide culturally competent care, understand the roles of various health care providers and effectively communicate succinctly and accurately. With each health care professional recognizing the strengths and skills their colleagues bring to the team, we see greater collaboration among health care professionals in order to achieve the best outcomes for patients.

I.C The Occupational Therapy Assistant Program

The Occupational Therapy Assistant program is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Occupational Therapy Education (A.C.O.T.E.) of the American Occupational Therapy Association (A.O.T.A.), located at 4720 Montgomery Lane, Suite 200, Bethesda, MD 20814-3449. A.C.O.T.E.’s telephone number, c/o A.O.T.A., is (301) 652-AOTA, and its web address is Graduates of the program will be eligible to sit for the national certification examination for the occupational therapy assistant administered by the National Board for Certification in Occupational Therapy (N.B.C.O.T.). After successful completion of this exam, the individual will be a Certified Occupational Therapy Assistant (C.O.T.A.). In addition, most states require licensure in order to practice; however, state licenses are usually based on the results of the N.B.C.O.T. Certification Examination. Note that a felony conviction may affect a graduate’s ability to sit for the N.B.C.O.T. certification examination or attain state licensure.

The OTA Lab is physically located in Cuvilly on the campus of Trinity Washington University. Faculty offices are located in Main, 3rd floor. OTA classes are held on line, in the OTA lab and various classrooms at the University. OTA students collaborate with other students at Trinity, including nursing students, for clinical skill classes and community experiences.


II.A Trinity Washington University Trinity Washington University is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education.

II.B Occupational Therapy Assistant Program

The Occupational Therapy Assistant program is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Occupational Therapy Education (A.C.O.T.E.) of the American Occupational Therapy Association (A.O.T.A.), located at 4720 Montgomery Lane, Suite 200, Bethesda, MD 20814-3449. A.C.O.T.E.’s telephone number, c/o A.O.T.A., is (301) 652-AOTA, and its web address is Graduates of the program will be eligible to sit for the national certification examination for the occupational therapy assistant administered by the National Board for Certification in Occupational Therapy (N.B.C.O.T.). After successful completion of this exam, the individual will be a Certified Occupational Therapy Assistant (C.O.T.A.). In addition, most states require licensure in order to practice; however, state licenses are usually based on the results of the N.B.C.O.T. Certification Examination. Note that a felony conviction may affect a graduate’s ability to sit for the N.B.C.O.T. certification examination or attain state licensure.



III.A Mission Statement Trinity Washington University’s Occupational Therapy Assistant Program strives to educate students to be competent, ethical, and committed occupational therapy practitioners who promote health and well-being of all people as they engage in everyday activities called occupations.  Through dynamic classroom, clinical and community experiences, OTA students graduate prepared to meet the ever-changing occupational needs of society and address social justice and occupational justice issues locally and globally.

III.B Vision Statement Within Trinity’s founding traditions, we envision the occupational therapy assistant program as a center where the occupational therapy assistant and the occupational therapist can study the process of adaptation and its effect on occupational performance as it relates to the person’s search for meaning and fulfillment as occupational-beings.

III.C Philosophy Each and every day we adapt and master our daily occupations to achieve competence in occupational functioning (Schultz 2009). However, when a person is faced with an occupational challenge because of impairment, disability or a stressful event, the innate process of human adaptation may become impaired (Shultz, 1992). The faculty of Trinity’s OTA program believes engagement in occupations can influence health and well-being and therefore will use the Occupational Adaptation (OA) theoretical perspective to guide, educate, and empower the OTA student. The occupational adaptation process requires understanding of the client as well as the environment to successfully engage in occupations. Through the occupational therapy practitioner’s unique perspective the client is provided with “tools” to adapt and skillfully perform self-care and home management, as well as participate in community, education, work and or leisure to prevent or minimize effects of injury, disease, disability or developmental challenges.

III.D Conceptual Model for the OTA Program

The OTA Program philosophy is guided by two major areas: fundamental beliefs about how human beings engage in the process of occupational adaptation, and the interface between professional curriculum and learning-teaching styles.

  1. Our Fundamental Beliefs about Human Beings

Humans are complex beings that are constantly interacting with the physical, social, temporal, cultural, psychological, spiritual and virtual environment through their actions. We are active beings who have the ability to adapt, modify and affect the quality of our life by engaging in the things we want and need to do called occupations.  These occupations are the actions that support survival, provide self-actualization, and help us find occupational balance (AOTA, 2007). However, when a person is faced with an occupational challenge because of impairment, disability or a stressful event, the innate process of human adaptation may become impaired (Schultz, 1992 and Schultz & Schkade, 1992).  Through occupational therapy intervention, the occupational therapy practitioner’s “therapeutic use of self”, management of the environment and use of “occupations as tools” promote the client’s ability to adapt to life’s challenges for successful occupational performance.

  1. Our View of Learning

Learning is an active and social process in which learners learn to discover principles, concepts and facts through interactions with each other and with the environment in which they live (Brown 1989; Ackerman 1996). Trinity acknowledges learners are unique individuals with unique needs and diverse backgrounds while being complex and multidimensional. Using a constructivist viewpoint to guide the learning process, we see that the responsibility for learning resides with the learner; motivation for learning strongly depends on the learner’s confidence in his or her potential to learn (Prawat and Floden 1994); and instructors are facilitators that create guidelines and set the stage within the environment for learning. The learning experience is shaped by the instructor’s as well as by the learners’ values; culture and background are shared and respected (Ernest 1991; Prawat et al. 1994). The faculty of Trinity Washington University’s OTA program demonstrate support for students to become effective critical thinkers through the “beyond the comfort zone” academic challenge (Vygotsky 1978) that translate into critical thinking and reasoning skills in the OT practice setting through use of activities as interventions. Core learning concepts center on:

  • Sharing individual perspectives of understanding through collaborative elaboration (Meter& Stevens, 2000)
  • Knowledge being discovered is an integrated whole and is content dependent
  • Introduction of basic content knowledge should be revisited often and built upon repeatedly (Duffy and Jonassen, 1992)
  • Learning is driven by the problem to be solved
  • Experimentation to understand outcomes
  • Researching topics and sharing with the class
  • Use of technology to incorporate multisensory learning
  • Social and communication skills
  • Collaboration and exchange of ideas
  • Activities are active and student-centered

Within the learning process, students process content knowledge through the following levels: remember, understand, apply, analyze, create and evaluate (Anderson & Krathwohl, 2000).

 III.E OTA Program Outcomes

The objectives of the Occupational Therapy Assistant program at Trinity Washington University are to prepare students that:

  1. Successfully pass the National Board for Certification in Occupational Therapy Exam (NBCOTE).
  2.  Effectively gather client information to collaborate with the OTR and other team members in all aspects of the OT process.
  3.  Demonstrate strong communication skills to effectively communicate the occupational needs of clients, populations or organizations to the OTR, healthcare team, family, or community.
  4.  Identify and modify activities as interventions that support the needs and wants of the client in their pursuit to master occupations and the environment.
  5.  Demonstrate professional behavior that reflects the standards and ethics of occupational therapy practice.
  6.  Regard human life as a journey to find meaning, balance and a lifelong process to master and adapt for success in occupational performance.
  7.  Advance principles of equity, justice and honor for all people in the practice of occupational therapy.
  8.  Demonstrate value in lifelong learning, participate in individual state and national organizations, and seek leadership opportunities to promote “occupational therapy as a powerful, widely-recognized, science-driven, and evidence-based profession with a globally connected and diverse workforce meeting society’s occupational needs” (AOTA, 2006).
  9.  Demonstrate entry-level occupational therapy assistant clinical skills.
  10.  Creatively apply the principles of health, well-being and life-satisfaction to serve as a resource for occupation-based program activities.
  11.  Maintain professional competency through participation in professional development activities to provide evidence-based occupational therapy services to individuals, populations and organizations.


IV.A Technical Standards/ Skill Requirements: Occupational Therapy Assistant The goal of the School of Nursing and Health Professions is to prepare students to become health care leaders who make a difference in their patients’ lives and in the community. They care for others by integrating the person’s injury or illness within the context of their life situation. The faculty in the School of Nursing and Health Professions has a responsibility to graduate ethical, competent, committed and evidenced-based professionals within their chosen health professions. The occupational therapy assistant (OTA) is a health professional that promotes health and wellness to those who are at risk for developing an illness, injury, disease, disorder, condition, impairment, disability, activity limitation or participation restriction through therapeutic use of occupations or everyday activities (AOTA, 2002).  Specifically, the OTA seeks to help clients adapt to occupational (everyday activity) challenges that they encounter over a life course (Schultz & Schkade, 1992). Trinity will consider applicants to the Occupational Therapy Assistant Program who possess essential technical physical skills, sensory/ perceptual skills, emotional regulation skills, cognitive skills, communication and social skills. These skills are necessary to ensure patient safety in fieldwork experiences, provide occupation-based as well as evidenced-based intervention and to function in academic as well as clinical/community settings. Technical skills are defined according to The American Occupational Therapy Association, 2008 Occupational Therapy Practice Framework 2: Domain and Process as well as the U.S. Department of Labor Statistics Occupational Outlook Handbook. The following standards describe essential technical skills necessary to graduate from Trinity Washington University as prepared OT practitioners. Standard I /Motor & Praxis: The ability to move and physically and skillfully interact with tasks, objects, contexts and environments. Skill requirements include:

  • Moving to and from various environments and surfaces
  • Sit or Stand for a long period of time
  • Physically interacting with tasks, objects, contexts & environments
  • Coordinate body movements to complete a task
  • Bend
  • Kneel
  • Stoop
  • Reach
  • Balance
  • Rotate body
  • Extend body or extremities
  • Lifting and transferring clients or equipment
  • Manipulating common OT tools (power or manual) for evaluation and intervention (bolsters, swings, assistive technology, pillows, mats, plinths)
  • Pushing equipment such as wheelchairs with and without clients
  • Holding, grasping and manipulating objects, equipment or a clients body or body parts
  • Adjusting self to space, person, object
  • Using personal strength to perform cardiopulmonary resuscitation
  • Using strength of fingers for palpation
  • Push, pull, lift at least 50 pounds
  • Adjust equipment during intervention

Standard II /Sensory-Perceptual: Actions or behaviors used to locate, identify, and respond to sensations experienced through all of the sensory systems. Skill requirements include:

  • Locate, identify and respond to sensations
  • Select, associate, organize, remember sensory events
  • Position the body during intervention
  • Visual discrimination of objects in relationship to the task and person
  • Visually identify or Listen to sounds and vibration through instruments during patient care
  • Tolerate unusual smells, sounds or temperatures in clinic, home or community settings

Standard III /Emotional regulation: Actions or behaviors used during interactions in everyday activities and interacting with others. Skill requirements include:

  • Manage frustration involving clients or tasks
  • Display appropriate emotions and actions with clients, organizations and populations

Standard IV/ Cognitive: Actions or behaviors used to plan and manage performance during OT intervention and professional interactions. Skill requirements include:

  • Critical thinking to rationalize, reason and behave empathically
  • Analyzing
  • Synthesizing
  • Apply ethics
  • Multi-task
  • Calculate
  • Retain facts from past and present
  • Use imagination and ingenuity to solve problems
  • Master abstract ideas
  • Select necessary supplies or equipment for intervention

Standard V/ Communication and Social Skills: Actions or behaviors used to communicate or interact with others in an interactive environment Skill requirements include:

  • Exchange ideas and perspectives with or from another
  • Acknowledge another’s perspective during an interchange
  • Build interprofessional partnerships for collaboration
  • Understand and communicate effectively with persons from different cultural and social backgrounds
  • Participate in group discussions
  • Communicate intelligibly, effectively and timely with clients, caregivers, families and organizations
  • Observe and understand non-verbal behavior
  • Demonstrate stable emotions
  • Work effectively under stressful situations
  • Tolerate close proximity with clients and co-workers
  • Demonstrate flexibility
  • Complete reading and writing assignments
  • Search virtual and library resources
  • Willingness to grow as a person and health care provider

As a matter of policy and practice, Trinity’s Disability Student Services (DSS) complies with the requirements of Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act and the Americans with Disabilities Act (1990 and 2008 Amendments). If a student requires accommodations to meet the technical skill standards within the Occupational Therapy Assistant Program, it is the student’s responsibility to seek reasonable accommodations through Trinity’s DSS.

 IV.B Additional Expenses

As part of professional behavior and professionalism on Fieldwork I and II and community learning experiences, students in the OTA program should expect to incur additional expenses beyond tuition and fees. 1. Uniform and Supplies: Students in the OTA program are required to purchase:

  • OTA polo
  • Name badge
  • Skills equipment for lab

2. Travel and Transportation to community facilities

  • Students are expected to have reliable transportation to, from and around the Metro Washington area for fieldwork, fieldtrips and advocacy events. Students will be required to attend off campus events for certain courses as well as Fieldwork I and II.

3. Books

  • Occupational Therapy books are expensive but are an investment in your future. The faculty have chosen current and frequently used books in OTA and OT Programs that provide you with evidence-based occupational therapy information.

4. Health Clearance

  • Fieldwork experiences depend on individual student health clearance based on standards outlined by the OTA program according to fieldwork site policies. Prior to Fieldwork I, all students must provide official documentation of current physical examination, immunizations, and flu shot.  Students without clearance will not be able to acquire Fieldwork I hours for matriculation through the OTA program.

5.  Health Insurance

  • Fieldwork sites require all OTA students to carry personal health insurance.

6. Criminal Background Check

  • Students must complete a criminal background check, finger printing and drug screening prior to participating in Fieldwork I or II experiences.  If background testing reveals positive findings fieldwork sites may not permit the student to engage in fieldwork experiences.

IV.C Outside Employment

Students should not plan on working during Fieldwork II experiences (spring, Year II). Fieldwork II is a full-time, 40 or more hours a week for 16 weeks after formal course work is completed.

 IV. D Program Community Engagement Requirements

Students are required to participate in OT advocacy events that may occur on or off campus. Such events include:

  • Re-building Together Evaluations with an OTR
  • Car-Fit with AARP and AOTA
  • AOTA Backpack Awareness Day
  • AOTA Falls Prevention Day
  • Fieldtrips
  • State and national conferences

 IV.E Liability Insurance

Trinity Washington University carries liability coverage for students and faculty engaged in OTA program specific activities.

 IV.F Financial Aid and Scholarships

Student financial aid is handled through the Enrollment Services Office.  Students can access financial aid and scholarship information by viewing the Enrollment Services tuition and fees or visiting the Enrollment Services Office.

Trinity Policies

V.1.A Student Code of Conduct

All students enrolled at Trinity in all programs must abide by all Trinity policies as stated from time to time on Trinity’s website, in the Student Handbook, and as promulgated by appropriate members of the administration and faculty.   These policies include the Honor System and Student Code of Responsible Conduct, and students in the professional schools must also abide by the Code of Conduct for Professional Students.  While these codes are available on Trinity’s website, the excerpts below reinforce the expectations of the Occupational Therapy Assistant Program that all OTA students will abide by these policies: Trinity expects all of its students to comport themselves as responsible adults acting honestly and with integrity through the Honor System. As a guide to community norms, Trinity has established this general code of student conduct to define the broad parameters of behaviors and actions that are prohibited and will incur penalties up to and including dismissal from the university. The list below is not all-inclusive, and Trinity reserves the right to expand, change or otherwise alter this list at any time. All students in all schools are bound by this Code of Responsible Conduct. … students in the OTA Program and other professional preparation programs may have additional Code of Conduct requirements under policies and rules issued by accreditors and professional licensing organizations. Trinity reserves the right to remove immediately from the campus any student who engages in any threatening conduct toward any person, who carries a weapon or who otherwise exhibits conduct that poses a danger to other persons. Trinity will call the police if necessary. Students who are expelled for violations of this policy will incur grades of “F” in their current courses and will not receive any refunds for tuition and fees paid.

  • Academic Dishonesty The Policy Statement on Academic Honesty is included in the Student Handbook and is posted on the website, and is incorporated by reference into this Code of Conduct. Students must know that any instances of cheating, plagiarism or other forms of academic dishonesty will incur specific penalties up to and including expulsion.
  • Harassment and Intimidation Trinity’s Harassment Policy is included in the Handbook and is posted on the website, and is incorporated by reference into this Code of Conduct. Trinity will not tolerate abusive or harassing behavior, verbal or physical, which demeans, intimidates, threatens, coerces, or injures another person or persons. Actions, which are intended to interfere with a person in the conduct of his or her customary or usual affairs, are prohibited. Such actions include but are not limited to the sending of threatening letters, posting threatening letters explicitly or by inference directed to the person, use of threatening language directed at another, vandalism or misappropriation of a person’s property, or vandalism of a person’s residential room. Hazing is a form of harassment specifically prohibited in any form for any reason. Offenses under this section may result in immediate suspension or expulsion.
  • Fighting Fighting in any form is strictly prohibited. Students who engage in fighting on or off campus will incur serious penalties up to and including expulsion. This prohibition on fighting includes verbal as well as physical assault. Students are warned that all parties involved in any fights will be disciplined regardless of who started the fight. Discipline may include dismissal from residence, suspension from school, and dismissal from Trinity.
  • Weapons, Explosives and Dangerous Materials No person may bring weapons of any kind onto Trinity’s campus, except in the routine discharge of law enforcement duties. No person may possess explosives or other dangerous materials except in supervised circumstances for legitimate professional purposes, e.g., for chemistry labs or for construction needs. Any student who necessarily comes into contact with chemicals or similar dangerous materials has a serious obligation to treat those materials with care and to refrain from taking any of the materials out of the supervised lab area. Removing chemicals from a laboratory or other designated area will result in serious penalties up to and including expulsion.Violations of this section may result in immediate disciplinary action up to and including immediate removal from campus and dismissal from Trinity, and Trinity will call the police in any case in which a student is in possession of a weapon of any kind.
  • Endangering Personal Safety Actions that threaten or endanger in any way the personal safety of others are subject to disciplinary action as well as possible arrest. Such actions include interfering with Public Safety Officers while they are acting in the performance of their duties on the University premises, intentionally ignoring citations issued by Public Safety, failure to comply with evacuation procedures, tampering with fire protection equipment, the inappropriate use of open flame devices or combustible materials. Discipline may include suspension and dismissal from Trinity.
  • Damage to Property Willful or grossly negligent damage or destruction of the property of others, or of the university, including but not limited to the deliberate defacement of library materials, buildings, sidewalks, walls, trees, or landscaping is prohibited. Leaving the scene of an accident on Trinity’s campus is part of this section. Any acts of theft and/or the unauthorized sale of property belonging to the University, a member of the University community or guest of the University are prohibited. Disciplinary actions may include suspension or expulsion, and Trinity may also call the police.
  • Fraud, Theft and Financial Responsibility Theft, forgery, and the alteration, or use of University documents or instruments of identification with the intent to defraud, are grounds for disciplinary action.Writing bad checks, stealing items from the bookstore, taking food from the cafeteria without paying for it, taking books from the library without checking them out properly, and similar acts intended to defraud Trinity, its vendors or other students will result in immediate and severe penalties.Trinity students are also responsible to abide by the Policy on Student Financial Responsibilities, which is in the Handbook and website, and incorporated by reference into this section. Any fraudulent behavior that attempts to circumvent this policy — for example, lying on financial aid forms, failing to honor checks written to cover Trinity bills, failing to respond to directions to make payment arrangements — will result in disciplinary action up to and including dismissal, and possible prosecution if fraud is involved.Similarly, as further defined in Trinity’s Technology and Telecommunications Policy, any improper use of Trinity’s telephones or technological systems for fraudulent or harassment purposes, or for commercial gain, may be grounds for serious disciplinary action.In addition to taking disciplinary action up to and including dismissal, Trinity may refer cases of fraud and theft to law enforcement authorities for investigation and prosecution.
  • Alcohol and Drug Policy Students who are under the age of 21 may not drink alcoholic beverages anywhere, including on Trinity’s campus. Underage students who drink or possess alcohol will incur severe penalties.Students over the age of 21 must exhibit responsible conduct with regard to alcoholic beverages. Any student who demonstrates an inability to treat alcohol responsibly will lose residential privileges and may incur penalties.Trinity does not serve alcohol at student functions, and no student organization may serve alcohol at any party or meeting on campus.Trinity abides by all laws concerning alcohol and drugs, and any violation of the law will also be construed as a violation of Trinity policy, and penalties will ensue at Trinity in addition to any penalties the person may incur through the legal system. Trinity reserves the right to call the police and refer any case regarding violations of alcohol or drug laws to law enforcement authorities, and students should know that Trinity will call the police immediately in any case involving the illegal use, sale or possession of drugs or alcohol, or related materials.This policy also applies to student guests, and the student may be held liable for the actions of her guests while on Trinity’s campus. Hence, a student guest who brings drugs or alcohol into a Trinity residence hall, party or other place on campus will also endanger the student’s standing at Trinity.The Drug Free Schools and Communities Act, along with the Drug Free Workplace Act, require that agencies receiving any form of financial assistance under any federal program after October 1, 1990 certify that they have adopted and implemented a program to prevent the unlawful possession, use, or distribution of illicit drugs and alcohol by students and employees. Trinity has established the following policy.The use, transfer, possession and/or sale of illegal drugs are against federal law and the laws of the District of Columbia. It is the administrative policy of Trinity that any student found to be in possession of illegal drugs, whether for personal use or for resale, will be subject to immediate dismissal and possible arrest. The possession for use, sale, distribution, or barter of any controlled substance, other than for whom the controlled substance was intended is prohibited. Similarly, any student’s guest or other campus visitor guilty of acts involving illegal or illicit drugs will be subject to arrest and prosecution under District of Columbia laws.
  • Smoking Smoking is BANNED from the vicinity of Main Hall, the Chapel, Alumnae Hall, the Science Building , the Library and the Trinity Center. People in those buildings who feel the need to smoke will have to do so on the sidewalk on Michigan Avenue. Smokers who reside in Cuvilly and Kerby may utilize the parking lots of those buildings to smoke. Violations of this policy will incur serious disciplinary penalties.
  • Excessive Noise, Disruption or Obstruction of University Activities Excessive noise is not allowed. Study areas and those areas designated as quiet study areas (including the residence halls and Library) must maintain quiet. Any behavior that disrupts or obstructs teaching, research, administration, learning, disciplinary or other official proceedings, and/or any other normal university activity is prohibited.
  • Classroom Conduct Trinity expects all students to arrive at class on time, to remain in the classroom for the entire period of the class, and to follow the legitimate instructions of the teacher. Faculty members may establish additional ground rules for the behavior of students during class, including limitations on eating during class, and penalties for missing class sessions.Faculty establishes the grading rules and work product expectations for courses in their syllabi.  Students are responsible to rulfill the expectations stted in course syllabi in a timely manner.

Cell phones may not be used in class. Other electronic devices (e.g., laptops, PDAs) may only be used with the permission of the instructor.

Students who speak to faculty members or other students during class periods in ways that are disrespectful and disruptive will be dismissed from the course without reimbursement, and in such cases the students may incur an “F” grade as well as additional penalties. Students participating in online courses must also exhibit appropriate conduct in all aspects of the course, including respectful communications, academic honesty, and timeliness of participation and fulfillment of assignments.

Students may not bring children to class. See the Policy on Children on Campus.

  • Residence Life Policies Resident students are expected to follow all rules and regulations governing Residence life listed in this Handbook and in the Housing Agreement.
  • Compliance with Other Policies This code of conduct also incorporates by reference all other policies of the University that govern student conduct and responsibilities, including the Financial Responsibility Policy, the Harassment Policy, the Technology and Telecommunications Policy, and similar statements. Students who violate Trinity’s policies may incur penalties up to and including dismissal.

See the policy statement on the website for a description of the disciplinary process that accompanies these policies.

V.1.B Student Conduct for Students in Professional Programs This Policy Statement is an addition to the Trinity Student Handbook and the Student Code of Responsible Conduct, and is incorporated by reference into those documents. All students at Trinity must comply with the expectations of the Honor System which includes the Student Code of Responsible Conduct and other campus rules and policies, including this policy statement.   The Honor System and the various policy statements contain implied and explicit expectations about the conduct of all students at all times.   This policy statement amplifies these expectations with a particular emphasis on Trinity’s expectation that students in professional programs will act with professionalism and high regard for ethical conduct in all matters. 1.  Trinity’s Honor System expects students to be truthful, to act with integrity, to respect community standards, and to manifest a commitment to ethical responsibility in all matters, including in all academic matters (see the Academic Honesty Policy), financial matters (see Student Financial Responsibility Policy) and other interactions on campus.   The Honor System expects all students to act professionally in all matters, including with regard to the resolution of disputes.   Various policy statements have specific examples of ways in which conduct might violate the Honor System.   At times, conduct might fall outside of specific policy statements but still be in violation of the Honor System.  This occurs when conduct is dishonest, unprofessional, insubordinate or grossly disrespectful of the mission and values of the Trinity community.   Examples of such misconduct include, but are not limited to: a) forging signatures or otherwise unethically altering or manipulating any document for any reason; b) misrepresenting facts, written or oral or in any electronic communication, including in appeals from administrative decisions or in disciplinary proceedings (lying in an appeals statement may be a separate offense from the first offense); c) making false accusations against any other person, whether written or oral or in electronic communication; d) fraudulent use of checks, credit card or bank account numbers, or other attempts to engage in illegal and deceptive financial transactions, whether with Trinity or its vendors, faculty or staff; or engaging in schemes on Trinity’s premises, or using Trinity’s technological systems, that would result in fraud for third parties not associated with Trinity; e) any impermissible use of Trinity’s technological systems (see the Technology and Telecommunications Policy); f) threats, efforts to intimidate, creation of a hostile climate for other students, faculty and staff (see Harassment Policy, Code of Student Conduct); g) misrepresenting the student’s actual academic status at Trinity, or prior academic record, including failure to produce transcripts from other institutions in a timely way when the student’s admission or academic progress depends upon the results of coursework taken elsewhere. 2.  Academic Authority:   Students must accept and follow the directions of their instructors in courses, their academic advisors, the deans of their academic units, and other legitimate campus authorities.   By enrolling at Trinity, the student inherently accepts the rules of the institution and the directions of the faculty and administrative staff.  This includes accepting academic policies and procedures with regard to course schedules, registration, financial aid, payment arrangements, enrollment in specific courses, following course sequences, prerequisites and all related academic matters.   The deans of the academic units and the provost have broad final authority to resolve student academic issues.  Insubordination, which is the refusal to follow a legitimate direction, may be grounds for disciplinary action up to and including dismissal. 3.  Trinity strictly prohibits any action which attempts to subvert the student financial aid system in order to obtain loans, grants or scholarships from federal or private sources based on impermissible factors, including enrolling in courses that are not necessary for student program completion; this includes a specific prohibition on retaking courses for which students have already received a passing grade.   Students who engage in such actions will incur disciplinary action up to and including dismissal.  As with other illegal conduct, Trinity reserves the right to refer cases of financial aid fraud to law enforcement authorities. 4.  Students enrolled in professional programs — e.g., Nursing, Teacher Education, School Administration, Counseling, Business, Occupational Therapy Assistant — have special professional conduct expectations.  This also applies to students doing professional work in internships.  Students in professional programs and on internships must comport themselves according to all of Trinity’s policies as well as according to the norms and standards of their professional associations and industries.   Students who violate professional standards or workplace rules will incur disciplinary action up to and including dismissal, for violations of professional conduct norms. The disciplinary procedures under this policy may be found on the website.  Additionally, Trinity reserves the right to take actions that are, in its best judgment, necessary to preserve the safety and integrity of the institution.

 Occupational Therapy Assistant Program Policies

Occupational Therapy Assistant Program policies and procedures are consistent within Trinity University and the School of Nursing and Health Professions. The Occupational Therapy Assistant requirements reflect the core mission values and vision of Trinity Washington University which emphasizes a commitment to education of women (and men), values and integration of liberal learning through profession preparation, and grounding in the mission of the Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur and the Catholic tradition, welcoming persons of all faiths, in order to achieve the larger purposes of learning in the human search for meaning and fulfillment. Trinity Washington University strictly adheres to ethical, legal, safety and professional behavior standards. Students who compromise this integrity will be suspended from the OTA program. The following documents can be found in the Trinity Student Handbook found at –          Academic Honesty Policy –          Student Code of Conduct –          Harassment Policy –          Technology and Telecommunications Policy –          Students with Disabilities

V.2.A  Admissions

Admission to the Trinity Occupational Therapy Assistant Program The policies and procedures for admission to the Trinity Occupational Therapy Assistant Program appear on Trinity’s website at

V.2.B Academic Expectations

The development and promotion of professional behavior is an integral component of a professional education program.  This behavior includes preparation for, and attendance of classroom, fieldwork, and laboratory experiences,; adhering to stated deadlines,; and being in class, fieldwork and lab at the designated time for the full duration of the course. While the following sections provide general academic guidance, specific rules and expectations for student work in courses and fieldwork settings will appear in each course syllabus.   The Dean, Program Director and faculty reserve the right to expand and change the specific academic guidelines as necessary to maintain compliance with accreditation and licensure rules, as well as the rules and expectations of fieldwork partners. The Dean of the School of Nursing and Health Professions and the Occupational Therapy Assistant Program Director and OTA faculty have broad authority and responsibility to ensure the fulfillment of academic expectations and requirements for all OTA students.   While this Handbook provides general guidance, the dean and director reserve the right to make decisions in particular cases that are appropriate to the circumstances and facts presented.   1.  Classroom, Fieldwork and Laboratory Attendance Course syllabi provide specific requirements for attendance and obtaining excused absences.  Attendance in OTA class, fieldwork and laboratory experiences is necessary in order to master the body of knowledge needed for safe clinical practice and adequate preparation for licensure.  Therefore, students are expected to attend all course sessions and be punctual and stay for the duration of the class, fieldwork and laboratory experiences. Occasionally, life events occur that prevent a student from attending a singular class.  Faculty will instruct students about notifications for the occasional absence.   However absences for extended periods of time (more than two class sessions) require specific prior permission or written documentation explaining the absence.  Examples of such absences would include extended illness, which requires medical verification; a family or professional emergency of a grave nature; a death of a close relative.  Students should recognize that faculty may not be able to accept extended absences and may counsel students to drop or withdraw from classes in cases where absences will compromise their academic performance.  The OTA Director/Faculty may issue additional guidelines.  Specific rules for attendance, makeup assignments and other related permissions will be specified in the respective course syllabi. The following OTA Program standard/ policy supports the professional behavior: of time management. Students are expected to be on time and remain in class/ lab or Level I & II Fieldwork in order to fulfill all didactic and fieldwork requirements. Attendance in lab/class and online is recorded in Moodle.

  •  Students who arrive after the designated start time or leave prior to the designated end time will be  marked as late.
  •  Three “late” attendance marks equate to one absence.
  •  Absence from more than two classes over the course of a 16-week semester, or more than one class over the course      of an 8-week fieldwork term will result in failure of the course. The student will be asked to drop or withdraw from the class.
  •  Students unable to attend or who are running late to a class are required to notify the instructor of the class 15-30 minutes prior to the beginning of class via email.
  •  Students unable to attend or who are running late for Level I or Level II Fieldwork are required to notify the Fieldwork site supervisor 15-30 minutes prior to the beginning of the fieldwork start time.
  •  Permission ahead of time to be late to class or Level I or Level II Fieldwork experience is granted in special circumstances. To obtain permission to be late to class or fieldwork experience, the student will need to make an appointment to discuss this with the course faculty prior to the class. Proper documentation must be provided.
  •  Excused absences may be granted for the following:
  •  Death of an immediate family member, which includes a sister, brother, mother, father, or child; Jury duty
  • Inpatient hospitalization of the student.

 The following examples do not automatically constitute grounds for an excused absence:

    • A physician’s office visit,
    •  Student’s emergency room visit,
    • Visit to a relative in the hospital, or
    •  Car mechanical problems
  • To obtain an excused absence, the student must      meet with the OTA Program Director to discuss the reason for the absence.      Proper documentation must be provided, such as a death certificate, record      of inpatient hospitalization, or jury duty summons. The OTA Program      Director will then notify the faculty member (s) concerned that the      student is being granted an excused absence.
  •  Students who are granted an excused absence      will still be required to make up the missed clinical or exam within one week following return from the excused      absence.
  •  Students who require a lengthy excused absence may apply to their professor for an “I” (incomplete) in the course according to Trinity’s established policies.  If the “I” grade is granted, the student must complete the required clinical hours or course work within one month of the end of classes.

2.  Assignments Students are responsible for submitting requirements on the due date specified in the course syllabus, at the beginning of class unless the instructor has granted express permission in advance submit materials at another time.

3.  Examinations Materials for examinations whether online or in-class will include material from course text or course web-based materials. Examinations must be taken at the scheduled time unless arrangements (emergency only) have been made with the Instructor or in accordance with guidelines provided through the Office of Disability Support Services. If an exam or quiz is missed because of illness, the student must obtain a doctor’s excuse and contact the Instructor via email prior to the exam time. Students are NOT to share content included on any examinations.  Sharing questions on examinations is a violation of the Trinity honor code and is subject to disciplinary action per the Trinity Washington University Honor Code.

4.  Email & Moodle Communication The Occupational Therapy Assistant Program uses email and Moodle as the major vehicles for communicating important information to students.  Students should check their email account at least once daily and Moodle at least 3 times a week.  Faculty and students should make every attempt to respond to email and Moodle communication in a timely manner.

V.2.C Behavioral Expectations for Occupational Therapy Assistant Students

1.  Professional Behavior and the Care of Others As a practice profession, occupational therapy places great trust and reliance upon individual responsibility and accountability.  Students are expected to exhibit personal and emotional characteristics consistent with a developing OTA professional role and conduct themselves in a professional manner. These behavioral expectations should be exhibited beginning with the students’ first course at Trinity.   Such expectations are also incorporated by reference into the preface to this Handbook and Trinity’s Code of Conduct for Professional Students. 2.  Reasonable Suspicion Drug and Alcohol Policy In the University setting, OTA students involved in fieldwork activities must uphold the standards of the occupational therapy profession to ensure safe, effective, and supportive patient care.  Because an impaired OTA student may have altered judgment and skills, appropriate management of abuse and addiction is critical for occupational therapy education and practice. This policy addresses drug and alcohol testing of OTA students involved in fieldwork activities based on reasonable suspicion of drug or alcohol use.  It is the policy of Trinity Washington University to comply with federal and District laws and regulations detailing the use and detection of drugs and alcohol.  This policy is subject to change at the sole discretion of the University and is meant to supplement other relevant University policies. If a faculty member has reasonable suspicion that an OTA student is impaired due to drug or alcohol use, that faculty member should consult with the OTA Program Director.   The Director may also consult with other university authorities depending upon the circumstances.  The Director may require the student to take a drug test at the student’s own expense.  Depending upon the results of the test, the Director may recommend additional disciplinary action to the Dean or Provost.  A student’s refusal to take a drug test may incur disciplinary action up to and including dismissal from the program. Students must also know that the fieldwork site may require a drug test at any time.  Students are responsible for complete cooperation with and fulfillment of all requirements of the clinical site supervisors. 3.  Academic Honesty Trinity expects all students to uphold the highest standards for academic honesty and integrity.  Trinity’s Honor System, dating to the earliest classes to attend Trinity, is a longstanding tradition that embodies the ethical and moral values of the university. 4. Cheating Cheating will not be tolerated at Trinity. Any form of cheating on examinations, papers or other class work will result in an automatic grade of “zero”.  Disciplinary action will be according to the University’s policy.  Occupational Therapy Assistant students must embrace Trinity’s Honor System and demonstrate the ability to uphold standard of integrity.

 V.2.D Academic Progression

1.  Graduation criteria (AAS) Degree Before graduation, Occupational Therapy Assistant students are required to:

  • Successfully complete, with a grade of “C” or better the 70 credit hour OTA curriculum courses
  • Achieve a “C” in Fieldwork I and II
  • Earn at least a cumulative 2.5 GPA

Once all academic and institutional requirements for graduation have been satisfied, the student will receive the academic degree of Associates of Applied Science/ Occupational Therapy Assistant. Upon graduation, the student may apply to sit for the National Certification Examination.  Students may also continue study at Trinity to gain the Bachelor’s degree in disciplines articulated with the OTA program; they can begin practice as an OTA upon licensure and can continue their course of study while practicing.

Please see the University Catalog for further information regarding graduation from Trinity.

2.  Course Sequencing Students must successfully complete all pre-requisite courses prior to advancing to the next course.  Occupational Therapy Assistant course sequencing is designed to ensure that the student moves logically from simple to complex skills and has demonstrated mastery at each step.  The sequence appears in the registration system and School of Nursing and Health Professions advisors and faculty will work with students to plan their programs accordingly.

3.  Grades for Progression OTA students must earn a minimum of “C” as a final course grade in all OTA and pre-requisite courses.  A final grade below a “C” will result in failure of the course.  Any grade involving a numerical fraction is NOT rounded up at the end of the semester in the final course grade. Undergraduate students who fail or withdraw from an OTA didactic or laboratory course may repeat it only once.  Students may not repeat more than two OTA program courses.  A third failure and/or withdrawal will result in dismissal from the OTA Program. Undergraduate students who fail or withdraw from an OTA fieldwork course may repeat it only once.  Students may not repeat more than one OTA fieldwork course.  A second failure will result in dismissal from the OTA Program.

4. Assignments Course Text and web-based reading assignments are to be completed for successful online participation.

  •  Written Assignments: All written assignments are due at the beginning of the class the assignment is due and will be marked late if presented at another time. Late assignments will be graded with 5 point deduction for each day late.
  •  In-class Participation: Regular class attendance is expected. If you are unable to attend on-campus class for any reason, the instructor should be notified via email 30 minutes prior to class. Students are expected to obtain information that they miss: ordinarily, the best source of such information is a fellow student.
  •  On-line Participation

Each student is allowed one unexcused absence from an online discussion forum without penalty.  Missing more than 1 class on-line will place the student on academic probation and an action plan will be prepared by the OTA faculty advisor and Instructor. 5.  Academic Probation Undergraduate students must maintain a 2.5 overall GPA in order to progress in the Occupational Therapy Assistant Program.  Students may be placed on academic probation if their cumulative GPA falls below 2.5. Academic probation indicates that the student is no longer in good academic standing and the student’s eligibility to continue studies in OTA is under question. A student may remain on academic probation for no more than one semester.  Failure to raise the GPA to the minimum standard of 2.5 during a student’s semester on academic probation may result in dismissal from the Occupational Therapy Assistant Program. A student on academic probation may not register for more than 12 credit hours in a Fall or Spring Semester, or 6 credit hours in the Summer semester.  Students on academic probation in OTA may not take courses in Winter Term or May Term. 6.  Grade Appeals Students may only appeal a final grade of “F” in a course. Appeals of “F” grades must be in writing.  There is no right to any hearing in grade appeal cases. The procedure for the grade appeal and review of the “F” grade is as follows:

  •  The student must submit a written grade appeal to the OTA Program Director setting forth the reasons why the “F” grade should not stand.  The student must submit this written appeal no later than ten days after the issuance of grade reports for the semester in which the course was taken.
  •  The OTA Program Director will send the grade appeal to the instructor of record     with a request to the instructor to review the process by which the instructor assessed the student and determined the final grade.  The instructor will report the result of this review to the OTA Program Director no later than ten days after receiving notice of the grade appeal.   (In cases in which the instructor is unavailable for this review between semesters, the Director reserves the right to waive the ten-day review period until such time as the instructor becomes available.)
  •  If the instructor and OTA Program Director agree that a change in the grade is warranted, the OTA Program Director may approve the change and will notify the student immediately.
  •  If the instructor’s review concludes that no grade change is warranted, the OTA Program Director will report the case to the NHP-CAP Committee at the next regular CAP meeting.  The CAP committee may inquire further into the case, may uphold the grade, or may ask for additional information.
  •  Once the CAP Committee has reviewed the grade and made its determination, the OTA Program Director will provide a final decision to the student.
  •  If the “F” grade results in the student’s dismissal from Trinity for failure to meet academic standards, the student may appeal the OTA Program Director’s decision to the Dean of NHP.
  •  The Dean of NHP will review the case and make a final determination.   The Dean may consult with the Provost as necessary.
  •  The Dean will notify the student of the final decision.
  •  Students who are dismissed from Trinity for academic reasons have the right to submit written appeals to the Provost, who reviews the cases and makes recommendations to the President, who has final authority in all dismissal cases.   The right to submit written appeals does not include the right to a hearing.   The Provost and President review the case materials, and the President sends a letter to the student confirming the final decision.  There are no other avenues of appeal from the President’s decision in a case involving dismissal.

V.2.E The Evaluation Process

Evaluation is an ongoing process aimed at assisting the student in meeting course and program objectives.  Students and faculty engage in a collaborative process of evaluating student progress throughout the program.  Evaluation processes are explained in each course syllabus and at the beginning of each class or fieldwork experience.  Faculty will assign grades for each course based on the extent to which the student meets outcome objectives. Undergraduate Occupational Therapy Grading Scale for all OTA and OTA pre-requisite courses Grading Structure Consistent with the University’s grading policy: 90-100             A 80-89               B 70-79               C 60-69               D 50- below        F Note: A final grade of “D” in any course prevents the student from continuing in core OTA courses. The student must repeat the course, achieve a “C” or higher then proceed with core OTA courses. Failure to achieve a passing grade after repeating the course will result in termination in the OTA program.  Incomplete Work Students who have not completed the requirements of a course for legitimate reasons may receive a provisional grade of incomplete upon the instructor’s agreement.  The student and instructor must fill out and sign the University’s contract form for an incomplete grade, stipulating the work to be completed, no later than the end of the final examination period, before the grade and credit for the course will be recorded. Students must complete all work as specified in the contract within four weeks of the final exam period, whether they register for courses in the subsequent semester or not.  All summer sessions constitute one semester.  If the incomplete grade is not removed before the end of the succeeding semester, the grade of incomplete (I) will automatically convert to a grade of “F” (Failure). Student Evaluation The Occupational Therapy Assistant Program may choose to use a variety of assessment modalities including standardized instruments developed externally and internally to assess student progress and satisfaction of requirements. Fieldwork Evaluations At the beginning of each fieldwork experience, it is the student’s responsibility to review and become familiar with the fieldwork performance objectives and competencies that are expected for the course, using tools that the OTA faculty adopts. Students will complete a self-evaluation at the end of each fieldwork course, using tools that the OTA faculty adopts.  Following submission of the student’s self- evaluation, the final fieldwork course grade will be submitted by the OTA Academic Fieldwork Coordinator. Fieldwork students undergo midterm and final fieldwork evaluations.  These evaluations are reviewed with each student and signed by the student, the fieldwork supervisor and the OTA Academic Fieldwork Coordinator.  The student’s signature does not indicate agreement, only that the student received the evaluation.  Students may add comments to the final evaluation. The final fieldwork course grade is determined by the OTA Academic Fieldwork Coordinator.  Both the fieldwork’s evaluation and the student’s self-evaluation are kept on file as part of the student’s academic record in the OTA Program Office. Faculty, Course & Program Evaluations Programmatic evaluation is one of many professional behaviors expected of occupational therapy professionals.  As such, students are expected to participate in program evaluation activities.  Students’ constructive feedback provides vital information necessary to improve the OTA Program.  During the program, students will be asked to participate in: a) Course evaluations:  completed at the end of every semester for each university course to evaluate the effectiveness of the course in meeting course objectives as well as faculty teaching effectiveness; b) Fieldwork Course Experiences: completed at the end of each fieldwork experience c) Fieldwork Agency placement Sites: completed at the conclusion of each fieldwork experience d) End of semester interview:  completed professional behavioral form The OTA Program engages in ongoing evaluation as a means by which to monitor its effectiveness in preparing graduates for the occupational therapy profession.  Students participate in exit interviews (completed in the final semester of the OTA program).  OTA graduates and their employers complete one-year, three years, and 5 years post graduation online surveys.

V.2.F Academic and Faculty Advisement

Academic and faculty advisement is a support service provided to all students. Students are assigned an OTA academic and faculty advisor upon acceptance into the OTA Program.  The faculty advisor assists students with academic planning and interpretation of academic policies and procedures as well as helping students to explore academic interests, to recognize academic strengths, and to identify resources to address weaknesses related to the OTA program.

  •  Incoming OTA students must meet with the OTA academic advisor in order to enroll in courses.
  •  Students are expected to contact their faculty advisor at least once in advance of the registration period for the next semester.  Students meet with their faculty advisor 2-3 times per semester to ensure that they are making progress toward the completion of their degree.
  •  It is the student’s responsibility to periodically (beginning and end of each semester) review Trinity’s Self -Service system for accuracy of their information. In the event an inaccuracy is found, students are responsible for contacting the appropriate office for resolution.

1.  Registration Requirements  The required courses for each degree program track are found on the Trinity Website via links to the OTA program.

  •  Students must adhere to the program plan approved by their faculty advisor.
  •  Students who do not follow the approved academic plan may not be able to complete their program of study by their projected date.
  •  Students are responsible for registering for each semester on time, meeting pre-requisites for each course for which they register.
  •  OTA courses are offered once during either the Fall or Spring semester as opposed to both semesters.
  •  Fieldwork I experiences occur throughout the 2nd and 3rd semesters.  Fieldwork II involves 16 weeks of full-time clinical practice that occurs in the 4th semester. Fieldwork experiences require travel within the DC Metropolitan area
  •  Students unable to take an OTA course in the semester it is scheduled should consult with their faculty advisor regarding the impact on their academic progression.

2.  Meeting with Faculty Students who wish to meet with faculty in person may schedule an appointment during the faculty member’s office hours or contact faculty directly via email or phone to request an appointment at a mutually convenient time. 3.  Student’s Academic Program of Study

  •  The student has primary responsibility for ensuring that adherence to the prescribed academic plan.  Central to this responsibility is the appropriate use of Self-Service, academic advisement and adherence to registration requirements. Students are expected to know how to use the online registration functionalities to manage their academic program, including accessing the course catalog, schedule of classes and registration processes.
  •  Trinity supports the Moodle platform for web-enhanced or blended courses. Students must be able to effectively use Moodle for their coursework. Selected textbooks have accompanying online or computerized elements. Students are expected to learn how to use these elements and “plug ins”.

4.  Academic counseling for students who are failing

  • As noted in the Trinity Academic Catalog, “Trinity is committed to      providing all students with a wide array of services and support to help      them succeed academically…..” The Academic Support Center is available to      all students enrolled in the university and offers a number of programs to      assist students with academic difficulties. These services and programs      include, but are not limited to study skills, test-taking skills, testing      anxiety workshops, student life planning, support services for students      with disabilities, and one-on-one tutoring.
  •  Students who are not passing at mid-term of the semester will receive an academic warning from the course instructor and must meet with the instructor teaching the course to develop a remediation plan.

5.  Course Cancellation Trinity reserves the right to cancel courses during the add/drop period if enrolment is low.  Every effort will be made to assist the student to identify an alternate course or to help the student adjust their academic plan so that their progression is not unduly delayed.

V.2.G Dismissal from the Occupational Therapy Assistant (OTA) Program

Students may be dismissed from the Trinity OTA Program for reasons including: a) Failure to satisfy the academic standards specified in the preceding sections; b) Any violation of Trinity’s policies that specify dismissal, including the Academic Honesty Policy, Student Code of Conduct, and other relevant policies cited at the outset of this document; c) Unsafe, unprofessional or unethical conduct in a fieldwork setting; d) Inability to obtain a fieldwork placement because the fieldwork agency declines to accept the student for placement as a result of the criminal background check or other issues that arise in fulfilling the requirements for fieldwork placement.  Students who cannot obtain fieldwork placements cannot continue in the OTA Program regardless of their grade point averages or performance in didactic courses.   1. Trinity’s policies on student conduct include appeals procedures for disciplinary dismissals. 2. Students who face dismissal for failing to meet academic standards will have notice of their       academic standing through the publication of the rules for academic progress, including the 2.5 minimum grade point average, and the one-semester academic probation process. 3. Students who must go on probation will also sign a learning contract that specifies the terms for their improvement.  Failure to fulfill the terms of the learning contract, including meeting the minimum academic requirements, results in dismissal.  Such dismissal is not appealable. 4. Students who face dismissal for professional conduct reasons, e.g., unsafe or unethical conduct in fieldwork settings, may follow the standard process for appealing disciplinary decisions.   This includes a written statement explaining the action in question.   The Dean of NHP and OTA Program Director will hold a hearing with the student to review the matter.   The Dean and Director will determine whether the student may continue in the program and they will so inform the student.  The student may appeal a dismissal notice to the Provost, who reviews the case and makes a recommendation to the President, whose review of the case and decision is final. When fieldwork placement agencies refuse to accept a student for placement, the student does not have an appeal right through Trinity.   Trinity has contracts with the agencies that extend the right to the agency to make decisions about clinical students.

OTA Fieldwork Practice Policies


Level I Fieldwork takes place either Tuesday or Friday mornings throughout each semester. Start dates for Fieldwork I vary per semester according to site availability. Each student will be responsible to acquire 24 to 32 hours of Fieldwork I each semester. Failure to meet this standard may result in OTA program probation. Fieldwork I takes place fall and spring semesters for those students admitted in August, 2012. Level II Fieldwork takes place after successful completion of core OTA courses. Fieldwork II requirements include:

  • 8 weeks in either pediatric , geriatric or adult rehabilitation setting AND
  • 8 weeks in a mental health setting

Fieldwork II placement information can be obtained in the OTA Academic Fieldwork Coordinator’s Office and by scheduling an appointment with the OTA Academic Fieldwork Coordinator. Fieldwork I and II facility information is located in the Academic Fieldwork Coordinator’s (AFWC) office.  The AFWC and OTA program director work collaboratively to place students in fieldwork settings. V.3.B Requirements for Participation in Fieldwork Experiences By accepting admission and enrolling in the Trinity OTA Program, the student certifies that he/she understands, meets, and continues to meet the essential eligibility requirements for fieldwork placement. These requirements pertain to candor, health-related standards, and eligibility for placement in fieldwork settings. Candor or full disclosure of pertinent information as well as correction of inaccuracies or misperceptions is required of all OTA students. Students must complete all health clearance information, which requires disclosure of any health conditions that may affect the student′s ability to enter fieldwork settings or the ability of the School to secure fieldwork placements. Students are required to submit to a criminal background check and to fully disclose their relevant health history that may impact their health or safety in a fieldwork setting, or the health or safety of those around them. This may include, but is not limited to, any history of chemical dependency/substance use (i.e. alcohol, drugs, controlled substances). Whether or not a student represents a threat to practice, disciplinary action, withdrawal from fieldwork courses or dismissal from the OTA Program may result from failing to fully disclose relevant health history, criminal background, and/or falsification or omission of information.

V.3.C Health Requirements and Limitations 1. Health Requirements and Limitations In addition to the Trinity policy on Accommodations for Persons with Disabilities in the university catalog, the Trinity OTA Program supports the guidelines set forth in the Accreditation Council for Occupational Therapy Education (ACOTE) Technical Standards document. See Section IV.A.  These guidelines serve to guide applicants and students of occupational therapy in understanding what functions, standards, and competencies will be required of them during their course of study and whether or not some accommodations will be necessary in order for them to be successful.

Prior to the first day of a class in the OTA program, the student must notify Trinity’s  Coordinator for Disability Services of any special accommodation required to complete requirements for the course of study in the OTA program.  It is the student’s responsibility to discuss with the Academic Fieldwork Coordinator and Program Director any special accommodation required, prior to the beginning of the course.

Students must report, immediately in writing, any changes in health status which impacts their safety, the safety of patients or those whom the student encounters, to the OTA Program Director. NOTE: At the time of application for licensure, the applicant will be asked by the Board of Occupational Therapy about any accommodations that were necessary to complete the OTA education requirements.

2.  Health & Immunization Requirements In order to comply with the regulations established by the fieldwork agencies to which students are assigned, and to minimize risks to student health, all OTA students must submit evidence of good health and currency in immunizations, vaccines, and screening requirements.

Health requirements must be submitted using ONLY the Trinity OTA Program Health Clearance Forms via Certified Background.

1) The Health Screening Form Part I

2) The Health Screening Form Part II

      3) The Immunization Record Form

  • The Health Clearance Forms Part I and Part II require disclosure of any health conditions which may affect the student′s ability to enter fieldwork settings or the ability of the OTA Academic Fieldwork Coordinator to secure clinical placements.

The Immunization Record Form is used to provide evidence of  having had the following communicable diseases or appropriate vaccinations and screening.  This is recorded by the student’s health care provider ONLY.

  •  MMR (Measles, Mumps, Rubella) – two immunizations or positive titer
  • Varicella (Chicken Pox)  vaccination or positive titer
  • Hepatitis B (Series of three (3) vaccinations) or positive titer
  • TD (Tetanus, Diphtheria) Every 10 years
  • PPD (Tuberculin Skin Test) Annually; if positive – Chest X-Ray every 2 years
  • Seasonal Influenza Vaccination
  • Students needing any required immunizations and/or titers are responsible for making the arrangements for receiving the immunizations and/or titers, and bare financial esponsibility for all aspects.
  • The student’s health care provider should uplosf the three Health Clearance Forms to Certified Background
  • All health forms must be received by the OTA Program Office NO LATER THAN the end of the semester prior to beginning fieldwork coursework, and health records must be updated annually.

The OTA Program Office maintains health and immunization records independently of the University Student Health Office.  Each student’s health compliance must be verified with fieldwork agencies before the student is allowed to enter any fieldwork environment.  Confirmation of health compliance to the requirements of fieldwork agencies is verified, but health documents from a student’s file are not released to any third party without authorization from the student.  Students should keep their own copies of health records available for fieldwork assignments should the agency require documentation. Trinity takes very seriously its institutional obligation to protect the privacy of student records as mandated through the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) and individual health records covered by the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA).  The records of OTA students are maintained in secure files to which only authorized individuals may have access. V.3.D  Criminal Background Check The Criminal Background check, which includes fingerprinting, sex offense registry, and check for crimes against minors is mandatory for all OTA students prior to the start of their fieldwork coursework. The OTA Program Office and fieldwork agencies reserve the right to review the results of the criminal background check and to deny student placement in a fieldwork setting on the basis of these results.

  • Students  are required to register with and authorize the following background checks:
  • A criminal background check
  • Fingerprinting
  • Sex offense registry and check for crimes against minors
  • Drug screening test

Students may also be expected to submit to random drug testing (refer to Reasonable Suspicion Drug and Alcohol Policy)

  • Students  must register online at under the section labeled “Students.” In the Package Code box, enter the package code RI53ALL.  Then select a method of payment.  accepts Visa, MasterCard, and money orders.
  •  Students are expected to complete the above requirements NO LATER THAN the end of the semester prior to beginning the OTA clinical courses.  Failure to complete the requirements in this timeframe will result in the student having to drop all OTA fieldwork courses.
  • Students will not be allowed to attend OTA fieldwork experiences until all requirements have been completed and submitted.
  •  Evidence of past or present  criminal behavior identified through the background check or through other  documented evidence of criminal behavior may lead to administrative sanctions up to, and including dismissal from the OTA program.
  • Non-compliance with the background checks and/or drug testing policies is cause for dismissal from the OTA program.
  • The National Board for Certification in Occupational Therapy (NBCOT) has information regarding certification requirements. At the time of application for licensure, The Occupational Therapy Board will ask the student applicant for disclosure of any felony, plea agreement, misdemeanor conviction, or drug related behaviors.

V.3.D  Health Insurance Portability & Accountability Act (HIPAA) Notice of Privacy Form The HIPAA Notice of Privacy Form must be signed by the student and faxed directly to

  • The form can be downloaded from, obtained from the Occupational Therapy Assistant Program   Office, or from the Student Health Services Office.
  • Students will not be permitted to  attend fieldwork courses until the HIPAA      Notice of Privacy Form has been signed by the student and submitted to
  • For additional information pertaining to the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA), please see the Health Insurance Portability & Accountability Act (HIPAA) section under item number 5 in section V.3.D Guidance for Laboratory and Fieldwork Experiences.

V.3.E  CPR Certification Prior to entering the fieldwork setting, students must present evidence of having completed Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation (CPR) Certification.  The course must be approved by American Heart Association (Course C – CPR for the Health Care Professional) and include 1 and 2 person for the adult, child, and infant rescue.

  • CPR certification must be renewed annually and remain valid through the end of the program
  • It is the student’s responsibility to maintain current certification
  • Absence from fieldwork because of  lack of current certification is considered as unexcused absence and is subject to the same governing policies

V.3.F  Personal Health Insurance All students enrolled in the Trinity OTA Program are required to present evidence of personal health insurance coverage prior to beginning fieldwork coursework.

  • Students must be covered by year round health insurance.
  • Student must be insured under the University Health Insurance Plan or by another insurance contract that the student or his/her parents purchase with comparable benefits to the University Plan.
  • Proof of current insurance coverage must be presented to the Occupational Therapy Assistant Program Office
  • Health insurance information should include the type of health insurance (i.e. HMO, PPO, etc) where the student may be treated. This information will enable the Administration to assist the student should injury or illness occur.
  • Students are responsible for any cost incurred that is not covered by their personal health insurance.  Trinity does not assume liability for an incident or injury which may occur during a clinical or laboratory experience.

V.3.G Guidance for Laboratory and Fieldwork Experiences 1.  Exposure to Bloodborne Pathogens Any accident or injury in the fieldwork setting that requires immediate attention will be treated at the nearest facility providing emergency care.  If a student is exposed to a blood or body fluid pathogen, the supervisor at the fieldwork site and the OTA Program are to be notified immediately.  If the facility has an Employee Health Department, the fieldwork supervisor will escort the student to the department and follow the agency guidelines for immediate treatment.  If there is no facility on-site, the nearest emergency department will be contacted and immediate treatment guidelines will be followed.  The student is responsible for contacting their personal health care provider for the necessary follow-up care.  Appropriate documentation of the incident will be kept in the student’s confidential health information file. 2.  Student Transportation The student is responsible for his/her own transportation to fieldwork experiences related to the OTA program.  An effort will be made for students who lack a personal mode of transportation to be assigned to an agency which has access to public transportation; however the student is responsible for the cost incurred. 3.  Inclement Weather The OTA program will comply with formal announcements by the University concerning cancellation or delay of classes for classes held on Trinity’s campus.  While engaged in OTA fieldwork experiences, students are to follow the cancellation announcements of the respective fieldwork agency. Students are responsible for ensuring their own safety and should make travel decisions accordingly. For bulletins concerning inclement weather and university delays or closing, check the web site.

  • Should the OTA program decide it is necessary to cancel class, fieldwork and/or Campus Learning Lab prior to a University cancellation decision, a phone tree notification system may be instituted by the program director and course faculty if time permits.
  •  Classes, Campus Learning Labs and fieldwork experiences canceled by the Trinity OTA Program will be rescheduled at the discretion of the faculty and fieldwork agency.  In addition, students are responsible for ensuring their own safety and should make travel decisions accordingly.

4.  Fieldwork Placements Many agencies are used for placement of students in fieldwork courses.  Every attempt is made by the Academic Fieldwork Coordinator to assign students to a variety of fieldwork placements in order to allow the students to care for diverse client populations.

  • All attempts are made to facilitate professional growth and learning in the educational experience.  The fieldwork assignments are made in collaboration with faculty, student and community agency.
  •  Students will not be assigned in a fieldwork area where they are currently employed.
  •  In the event that an agency declines to accept a student for fieldwork placement or requests that a student not continue at the agency, the student may be dismissed from the OTA program.
  • Fieldwork placements may be held on day, evening, weekend, and holiday schedules. When enrolled in Fieldwork II experiences students follow the fieldwork site schedule regarding employee      attendance.

5.  Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) Federal regulations under the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) include provisions designed to protect the privacy of patient information.  These regulations are commonly known as the Privacy and Security Rules.  Confidential patient information means information that identifies the patient, relates to the patient’s diagnosis or condition, the patient’s care, treatment or other services provided to the patient, or the patient’s billing and payment information.  It is the student’s responsibility to be familiar with, understand and comply with the requirements of the HIPAA. Examples of confidential information are listed below.  Failure to adhere to any of the HIPAA regulatory expectations may result in immediate removal from the fieldwork settings and additional academic sanctions, including course failure and if necessary dismissal from the OTA Program.  The patient’s confidential information includes:

  • name, address, phone number, fax number, e-mail address
  • occupation, age or date of birth, place of birth, date/time of death
  • social security, driver’s license, license plate, and professional license number
  • medical record number, account number, health plan number
  • photographs, fingerprints, voiceprints
  • distinguishing physical characteristics, including height, weight, gender, race, hair and  eye color, presence or absence of facial hair (beard or moustache), scars, and tattoos
  • diagnosis and Healthcare Common Procedure Coding System (HCPCS) codes, narrative diagnosis, signs and symptoms, description of procedures
  • history & physical, discharge summary, physician orders/prescriptions, clinical notes
  • test results, imaging results, Web Universal Resource Locator (URL), Internet Protocol (IP) address number
  • Any other unique identifying number, characteristic, or code

Students are expected to maintain the privacy of individually identifiable health information (IIHI) by taking the following steps to protect against disclosure of IIHI therefore students are:

  • Not allowed to share or discuss information outside the educational setting.
  • Expected to follow the HIPAA guidelines of the fieldwork placement setting.
  • To  read, understand, sign, and follow confidentiality and privacy policy statements, which will vary by fieldwork site
  • Are prohibited from taking any IIHI from a fieldwork setting back to the classroom.
  • Not allowed to bring IIHI acquired during their fieldwork coursework into the classroom
  • To remove any IIHI when discussing their clinical experiences as part of any coursework
  • May not retain any IIHI after the need to use it has ended
  • To use IIHI only for research and/or education purposes

6.  Health Habits & Requirements Maintaining good mental and physical health habits are essential to meet the stress of a demanding curriculum such as OTA.

  • Students will encounter multiple stressors while in the OTA program.  Students must be able to manage stressful situations. These stressors may be, but not limited to personal, patient & family care, faculty or peer, and/or program related.
  •  The student must be able to adapt to and function effectively during stressful situations in the classroom and fieldwork settings, including emergency situations.
  •  Performance expectations will not be modified because of a student’s work commitments.  Students may not work the preceding eight hours prior to attending an OTA fieldwork experience.
  • Students must report, immediately in writing, to the OTA Program Director, any changes in health status which impact their safety, the safety of patients or others, or which significantly affect their progression in the OTA program.
  •  Students are expected to comply with all agency requirements for placement in the fieldwork setting.  These include documentation of health      and immunization requirements and current cardiopulmonary resuscitation      (CPR) certification and may include drug/toxicology screening or an  updated criminal background check. Failure to comply with these requirements may result in withdrawal from fieldwork courses with a resultant effect upon the progression in the OTA Program.
  •  Disciplinary action or dismissal from the OTA Program may result from the following, whether or not they represent a current threat to practice:
  •  Failing to fully disclose relevant health history or criminal background
  • Falsification or omission of information

7.  Unsafe Practice Unsafe practice is a behavior that threatens or has the potential to threaten the safety of a client, student, faculty member, or member of the health care team in the fieldwork setting.

  • Students are not allowed to practice in a fieldwork setting without the knowledge or supervision of the fieldwork supervisor who is a licensed OTR or experienced COTA.
  •  Any student who exhibits potentially unsafe practice during a fieldwork experience will be immediately withdrawn from the fieldwork setting. This decision may be made by Trinity’s Academic Fieldwork Coordinator, upon consultation with the fieldwork supervisor or at the request of the clinical agency.
  •  Students who are at risk for unsafe practice may be prevented from attending their fieldwork experience until the unsafe practice concern has been investigated and satisfactorily resolved.
  •  If the concern cannot be resolved, the student may be subject to additional administrative sanctions and may be subject to administrative dismissal from the program.

The student has the right to follow Trinity’s appeal procedures.  V.3.E Academic and Fieldwork Grievance All students in the School of Nursing and Health Professions are expected to follow Trinity and program specific policies.  Students who question administrative application of a policy have a right to file a grievance.  Student grievance must follow outlined University procedures, including submitting the grievance in writing to the OTA Program Director, who informs the School of Nursing and Health Professions Dean.

V.3.F Professional Attire and Conduct

A professional and neat appearance is expected and required for all fieldwork and University related experiences.  The following information outlines the expectations for professional attire and conduct in the fieldwork and laboratory settings.  When in the community or on fieldwork, students represent Trinity y, as well as the Trinity OTA Program.  Students preparing for an occupational therapy career bear the responsibility to conduct themselves and dress in a manner that reflects professionalism.  Proper attire and appearance enhances both the student’s credibility and that of the University with clients, their families, and agency personnel.

  •  Professional conduct is expected at all times.  This includes not chewing gum and no transaction of personal business in the fieldwork area, except for emergency situations.
  •  Students who appear in a fieldwork setting who are inappropriately attired or groomed may be sent home from  the fieldwork site and the absence will be treated as an unexcused fieldwork absence.
  •  Students should consider the impact of cosmetics and decorative hair styles/colors upon patient, staff and other individuals.  The fieldwork agencies and faculty have the discretion to require modification of these factors when students are in the fieldwork setting.
  •  Body piercing & tattoos are discouraged. If tattoos do exist, they must be covered when possible.      Cases of permanent cosmetics will be addressed on a case-by-case basis.
  •  OTA faculty has the responsibility and reserves the right to judge the appropriateness of a student’s attire, and may modify the uniform policy in accordance with agency guidelines and standards.
  •  Proper attention to hygiene is mandatory.  This is more than common courtesy.  In order to convey      respect to clients and colleagues and because of health laws, isolation and aseptic techniques, students must maintain good personal hygiene.  Students must:
    •  Observe proper bathing habits
    • Use deodorant products to prevent odor
    • Avoid any use of colognes or perfumes
  •  Please note that all noise-making devices (pagers, cell phones, etc.) must be turned off during class,      laboratory and clinical sessions.

Uniform Policy

  •  All OTA students are required to    wear the official Trinity OTA uniform: tan or black pants, Trinity OTA polo shirt, and the Trinity      name badge.  The name badge and OTA polo shirt are available at the Trinity Bookstore.  The official Trinity OTA uniform is required in institutional and community settings, during classroom laboratory sessions, and where the fieldwork agency does not require a specific alternate uniform (i.e. in pediatric settings).
  •  Students should visit the bookstore at least two weeks prior to beginning OTA classes to allow for sufficient time for the proper size clothing to be ordered, and the name badge to be ready for the end of  the first month of the first term in OTA program.
  • Laboratory dress is required for specific core courses.  Dress for these courses may consist of shorts, tights, sleeveles shirts.
  • Students may be required to purchase a fieldwork site specific uniform.
  • Uniforms should be fitted appropriately and not tight or too loosely fitted.  Faculty and clinical agency staff reserve the right to deny the student access to the fieldwork experience      if dressed inappropriately.
  • Shoes:  Closed heel and toe; flat, no heels; no canvas sneakers or      clogs; no bright colored shoes.       Shoes must be polished, clean, and in good repair
  •  Students should use good judgment wearing the uniform outside of the fieldwork setting. Remember that the uniform has been worn in a contaminated environment.
  •  To insure client safety and prevent the transmission of microorganisms, the following should not be      worn in institutional and community settings:
    • bracelets, chains, necklaces
    • dangle, hoop or large earrings
    • rings with stones
    • no type of button or pin may be worn other than the Trinity name badge
    • artificial nails
  •  Due to limited space for students’ belongings, avoid carrying purses or other valuables to fieldwork      settings.
  •  No waist or fanny packs may be worn due to the probability of cross contamination and the transmission of nosocomial infections
  •  Students who need to cover their      hair for religious reasons should consult with the Academic Fieldwork      Coordinator and fieldwork supervisor to ensure that the cover selected      meets safety and infection control standards.
  •  The official Trinity OTA uniform consists of:
  • OTA polo shirt (purple)
  • OTA student name badge
  • Black or tan pants

V.4.A  Professional Organizations

  • Students in the OTA Program are      encouraged to become members of the American Occupational Therapy      Association (AOTA):      and      the District of Columbia Occupational Therapy Association:
  •  All      students who graduate from Trinity are members of the Trinity Alumnae      Association.

V4.B Ceremonies 1.  The University Commencement Ceremony

  • Students must apply for graduation
  •  Obtain the “Application for Graduation Form” on-line at Trinity’s website or from the Enrollment Services office.
  •  Obtain the signature required on the form from Enrollment Services.
  •  The student must also sign the completed form.
  •  Submit it to the Enrollment Services office by the posted deadline.
  •  Enrollment Services will coordinate with students’ advisors and financial aid to conduct a formal review of each student’s academic record and determine eligibility for graduation.
  •  Once graduation clearances are completed, Enrollment Services will notify students that are cleared to graduate, by mail, with information on how to receive diplomas.
  • Students who are not cleared to graduate will receive a letter explaining why they are not cleared and whom to contact for further information.
  •  Please visit the University Catalog for further information regarding the Commencement Ceremony.

For more information about Trinity's School of Nursing and Health Professions, please contact the Office of Admissions at (800) 492-6882 or via e-mail at

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