One distinctive feature of the occupational therapy program at Puget Sound—rare among OT programs—is the on-site teaching clinic. It is equipped with a simulated apartment, activity spaces, and up-to-date assistive technology. A 4,000-squarefoot mobility park simulates outdoor environments, including walkways, curbs, steps, ramps, a playground for children, and raised flower beds for gardening for clients with movement impairments.
Under faculty supervision students experience the entire occupational therapy process and provide free, quality health care for 60-70 clients each year. Students select and carry out evaluations, create intervention plans, and implement them. They monitor client progress, adjust intervention plans, and document outcomes, then re-evaluate and make discharge recommendations. These extensive clinical experiences are rigorous preparation for the six months of full-time, required fieldwork. They provide a solid bridge between the classroom and the clinic.
OT students are divided into small sections of 5-6 students, with each section supervised by an experienced OT clinician. Students are assigned clients, both adult and pediatric, who require evaluation and treatment for a variety of occupational limitations. After an early semester orientation period students conduct the evaluations themselves, under the supervision of their clinical instructors. The students compose an intervention plan and, with the approval of their instructor, implement that plan over the course of a 10-week period. Client progress is closely monitored during that time, and adjustments are made to the plan as indicated. Re-evaluation, writing a discharge summary, and a home program are learning activities that close out the semester.
Students also are required to participate in an off-campus mental health group experience, planning and providing therapeutic activities for a group of clients with mental health needs. Students select from a variety of community-based settings, such as adult group homes, a residential treatment center for women with chemical dependency, or a dementia care unit.