Each year, approximately 45 students complete the Bachelor of Occupational Therapy degree (BOT) offered by the School of Occupational Therapy of Hadassah and the Hebrew University. This fascinating three-and-a-half year program trains occupational therapists for clinical work throughout Israel.
The BOT program emphasizes various fields of study and combines theoretical with clinical studies. The study of occupational therapy and occupational science focuses on treatment principles and methods, evaluation processes and the use of technology in the profession. An emphasis on medical sciences provides the student with fundamental knowledge essential to the practice of occupational therapy, in areas such as anatomy, physiology, neurology and orthopedics. Courses in social and behavioral sciences which emphasize a deeper understanding of the emotional and behavioral facets of the individual enable an increased ability to form a meaningful client-therapist relationship. The study of statistics and research methods provides tools for students to participate in theory and research seminars, encouraging students to develop critical and methodical thinking techniques.
Theoretical studies are balanced with hands-on clinical training in treatment settings throughout the country preparing our occupational therapists for work in an exciting and developing field in Israel and throughout the world. The seven-semester program is structured according to the new paradigm of the World Health Organization and leading theoretical models in the sphere of occupational therapy and occupational science.
More than a third of the BOT program is devoted to the study of occupational therapy sciences. The first year provides the basis for the coming years and includes introductory courses to three main areas of study: Introduction to Occupational Therapy and Foundations for Intervention form the basis for the occupational therapy sciences. Anatomy and physiology provide the basis for the medical sciences and the understanding of individuals with physical disabilities. Introductory courses in developmental and social psychology (as part of the social and behavioral sciences) set the foundations for developing meaningful client-therapist relationships. The Introduction to Statistics course is the first step in acquiring tools necessary for systematic reasoning, for critically reading scientific literature and for performing research as well as the basis for developing clinical evaluation skills.
In the second, third and fourth years, each of the study areas is developed. In the realm of medical sciences, specific subjects are taught including Neurology, Orthopedics, Psychiatry, Internal Medicine and Pathology. In the area of social and behavioral sciences, courses are added in Sociology of Health and Illness and Neuropsychology. The study of occupational science begins with becoming acquainted with theories and frames of references. In parallel, the process of occupational therapy is taught, including an in-depth course relating to Evaluation of Occupational Performance along with courses relating to evaluation and intervention for specific populations. These courses are complemented by clinical experience that the students acquire at clinical laboratories or facilities.
During these years, the students continue to study research and data analysis methods. These assist them in the evaluation and assessment process, as the basis for developing intervention plans. In addition, as part of a Research Seminar, the students are involved in a research project.
As health professionals, occupational therapists assist their clients through therapeutic interventions which vary according to population, diagnosis and clinical setting. Consequently, the School of Occupational Therapy requires that its' students gain clinical experience in a range of facilities and with diverse populations.
The School of Occupational Therapy has developed a clinical studies program based on the World Federation of Occupational Therapy (WFOT) standards, its faculty members' vision and the experience of other universities worldwide. The clinical fieldwork placements occur throughout the country in various recognized and approved clinical facilities in which occupational therapists work, including, medical, rehabilitation and educational institutions.
The WFOT demands a minimum of 1000 supervised fieldwork hours for accreditation. The clinical studies of the School of Occupational Therapy of Hadassah and the Hebrew University are guided by these standards. One clinical fieldwork placement is included in each of the second, third and fourth years, during which time, students experience clinical reality. The fieldwork placements enable the students to enhance their understanding of theoretical facets of occupational therapy and to apply their existing theoretical knowledge in the areas of occupational science, occupational therapy practice, medicine, psychology and sociology. In addition, clinical fieldwork helps the students to develop their identity as occupational therapy clinicians.
The clinical fieldwork program is organized such that it enables gradual, systematic and structured training of the students towards clinical excellence. Each clinical fieldwork placement has a central theme. The focus in the initial placement is on the Process of Evaluation (methods of data collection, acquisition of knowledge and basic therapeutic communication skills). The emphasis in the second field work placement is on Intervention (understanding the process of clinical reasoning, selection of treatment procedures and frames of reference and construction of treatment plans). In the third placement, emphasis is placed on the application of clinical reasoning and basing intervention on research evidence.