Postgraduate Diploma in Occupational Therapy Practice

Perfect if you are a registered occupational therapist and want to enhance your skills and career potential in your practice. This programme will prepare you for expert clinical and managerial positions. You can also pursue a career in academia or policy development or pathway to the Master of Occupational Therapy.

About the programme

Are you already registered as an occupational therapist? Do you want to gain an advanced level of knowledge in your chosen practice area and broaden your career options?

Then this is the programme for you! Undertake further specialised education and gain the higher-level knowledge and skills relevant for international practice, enabling you to apply for employment positions that are recognised as expert clinical posts, or to move into managerial positions, both within New Zealand and overseas. Your learning may also provide you with the confidence to move into new areas where the role of occupational therapy is only emerging. Alternatively, you may choose to pursue a career in academia or policy development and this qualification will allow you to staircase into the Master of Occupational Therapy.

Acquire the skills to engage in evidence-based practice. Deepen your understanding of the body of knowledge that informs day-to-day occupational therapy practice so you can contribute to its ongoing evolvement. Consisting of four one-semester courses, choose to complete just one postgraduate course, or more, depending on your goals. Courses are delivered 100% online.

If you complete two, one-semester courses, you can exit with a Postgraduate Certificate in Occupational Therapy Practice. If you complete two, one-semester courses with a B grade average and one is Research for Practice then you may enter directly into the Masters programme.

Studying part-time 

We know full-time study isn't always possible. We also offer this programme part-time over four years.

Courses

This Postgraduate Diploma consists of four courses. 

Domestic students 

You'll complete the compulsory Research for Practice course and select three others from the range of elective courses offered to make up your qualification. Plan your own progress through the programme choosing which courses you prefer to take first.

All courses are at Level 8 of the National Qualifications Framework. Please note that not all elective courses are offered every year. Please contact the School of Occupational Therapy for the current list of available courses. Email ebsOCC@op.ac.nz 

International students

If you are an international student interested in studying with us, please contact the School of Occupational Therapy by emailing info@op.ac.nz

Course name

 Level

 Credit

Research for Practice

Learning outcomes

The nature of this course is to ensure that students are able to justify the selection and use of appropriate research methods for practice within the New Zealand bicultural context.

At the completion of this course, you will be able to:

  • Critique published research related to one area of practice
  • Justify the use of both qualitative and quantitative methods to explore a research topic
  • Analyse ethics relevant to a research  topic including issues of bicultural and sustainable practice in New Zealand

Content

  • Different approaches to and assumptions implicit in research related to practice
  • Methodologies (Quantitative and Qualitative), methods and their consistency with different world views
  • Strategies such as reliability, validity, trustworthiness and rigour and their uses to enhance/ensure the quality of research
  • Assess published research

Assessment

  • Written Assessment 1 - worth 30%
  • Written Assessment 2 - worth 70% 

 

30

Reasoning in Fast Paced Environments

Learning outcomes

The aim of this course is to ensure that therapists/health workers in practice areas that have restricted client contact, feel positive about their ability to assess well and contribute effectively to patient outcomes.

At the completion of this course, you will be able to:

  • Debate the ethical issues in rapid decision-making
  • Evaluate the impact of the practice environment (including the MDT) on assessment and bicultural considerations
  • Justify occupational therapy intervention to managers of the service

Content

  • Occupational therapy reasoning / the place of intuition
  • Being client centered
  • Client education in limited time frames
  • Working in Biomedical / managerial environments
  • Using evidence in daily decisions
  • Ethical issues in fast decision making
  • Managing risk vs patient autonomy
  • Maintaining an occupation focus in clinical reasoning when discharge is imminent
  • Assessments suitable for fast-paced environments
  • The impact of the practice environment (including MDT) on assessment and bicultural considerations
  • Overview of models of discharge / transition
  • Preparing new graduates to work in fast-paced environments and supervision implications

Assessment

  • Written Assessment 1 - worth 30%
  • Written Assessment 2 - worth 70%

8

30

Adventure Therapy

Learning outcomes

This course will provide students with theory and frameworks that will enable use of adventure therapy approaches in their practice in mental health, justice, education and wellbeing fields of practice.

At the completion of this course, you will be able to:

  • Critically analyse theories related to the use of adventurous activities, natural environments and experiential learning in health, wellbeing and education practice environments
  • Evaluate the use of and effectiveness of adventure therapy interventions within the New Zealand bicultural context
  • Develop intervention strategies based on adventure therapy principles for a specific practice environment

Content

  • Critical reflection of engagement in or observation of an adventure-based learning experience
  • Application of the theories and strategies learned in the course within your own professional discipline
  • Use of experimental learning in activity-based therapy, utilising adventurous and non-adventurous activities
  • Exploring Māori perspectives within adventure therapy programming Māori

Assessment

  • Written Assessment 1 - worth 30%
  • Written Assessment 2 - worth 70%

 

8

 

30

Vocational Rehabilitation

Learning outcomes

Assisting an individual to return to work is a complex task requiring an in-depth and broad understanding of not only rehabilitation, but also the broader context of the workplace. This course aims to assist students to be evidence-based in their planning and delivery of return-to-work programmes within the New Zealand bicultural context.

Please note: PC/PD434001 meets the 30 credits of postgraduate study as required by ACC and documented in Section 3.4 of the ACC document "Skills and Competencies Requirement for Vocational Rehabilitation Services".

At the successful completion of this course, you will be able to:

  • Design and evaluate individual vocational rehabilitation programmes relevant for the New Zealand bicultural context
  • Critically appraise the influences that can impact on the individual’s reintegration into the workforce
  • Evaluate own strengths and areas for growth in the provision of return to work programmes

Indicative content

  • Ethics issues relevant to vocational rehabilitation
  • Influences of external drivers, for example, legislation and labour market issues
  • Vocational assessments
  • Strategies to enable successful progressive return to work
  • Career employment counselling and career transition management
  • Intervention strategies to facilitate a return to work, to obtain new employment
  • Negotiation and mediation skills
  • Post reintroduction support/guidance
  • Vocational services management.

Assessment

  • Written Assessment 1 - worth 30%
  • Written Assessment 2 - worth 70%

 

8

 

30

Trauma Informed Practice

Learning outcomes

The nature of this course is to ensure that students are provided with the theories and frameworks to be able to enhance an individual's capacity to manage the effects of trauma. 

At the completion of this course, you will be able to:

  • Critically analyse the theories relating to developmental trauma disorder and it's ongoing impact on the stress response and on body function
  • Evaluate the application of trauma informed practice at each stage of a recognised service delivery model from your practice setting
  • Critically evaluate the use of and effectiveness of intervention strategies used by the individual

Content

  • Theories and strategies to implement when working with affected individuals
  • Neuroscience
  • Environmental factors
  • Personal factors such as resilience and social networks
  • Cultural perspectives within trauma informed practice

Assessment

  • Written Assessment 1 - worth 30%
  • Written Assessment 2 - worth 70%

 

8

 

30

Motivation & Behavioural Change

Learning outcomes

Occupational therapy uses engagement in activity to assist people to change behaviours. While for some people change is essential to enable living with an acquired illness or disability, for others, change is desirable to improve health and wellness; for example, increasing amount of exercise, increasing socialisation, decreasing drug use (alcohol, nicotine, illicit drugs) or changing eating behaviours.

The aim of this course is to provide postgraduate students with frameworks that will enhance their interventions when working with people presenting with issues related to motivation and behavioural change within the New Zealand bi-cultural context.

At the completion of this course, you will be able to:

  • Critically review theories related to motivation and behavioural change drawn from a range of differing health professionals' literature including positive psychology and addictions.
  • Critically evaluate the effectiveness of interventions drawing on theories introduced in this course within the New Zealand bi-cultural context.

Content and process

Guiding frameworks and theories for practice:

  • Selected theories and frameworks appropriate for use in practice
  • Model of Human Occupation
  • Kawa Model approaches to motivation and change.

Theories of Motivation and Behavioural Change

  • Circle of Change
  • Positive Psychology
  • Exploring what motivates self and others to change their behaviour
  • Exploring Māori perspectives on motivation and change.

Strategies

  • Motivational interviewing as a mechanism for developing and sustaining the motivation for change
  • Working with resistance to change
  • Using occupation/activity to motivate and support change.

Assessment

  • Written Assessment 1 - worth 30%
  • Written Assessment 2 - worth 70% 

 

8

 

30

Using Sensory Processing Principles with Diverse Populations

Learning outcomes

This course will enable students to be theoretically up-to-date and equipped to evaluate the need for, and benefits of, applying theories of sensory processing with diverse populations in a range of child, adolescent and adult settings within the New Zealand bicultural context.

At the successful completion of this course, you will be able to:

  • Discuss the relationships between neuroscience theory, sensory processing, human behaviour and occupational engagement
  • Justify proposed or existing interventions using sensory processing theories
  • Critically evaluate the research evidence used to justify the application of sensory processing theories to enhance occupational engagement within the New Zealand bicultural context

Indicative content

  • Overview of central nervous system structures and functions
  • Evolution of sensory processing theories
  • Principles of sensory processing theories
  • Evidence to support effectiveness of sensory processing interventions
  • Considerations related to the use of sensory processing theories within the New Zealand bicultural context

Assessment

  • Written Assessment 1 - worth 30%
  • Written Assessment 2 - worth 70%

8

30

Negotiated Study

Learning outcomes

This course enables students to explore both theoretical and practical knowledge in a chosen area of interest.

At the completion of this course you will be able to:

  • Negotiate and complete an investigation on a selected topic relevant to practice in the New Zealand bicultural context
  • Retrieve, interpret, analyse and evaluate information on a selected topic of special interest to your practice

Content and process

The content of this course will vary depending on your area of interest. The process undertaken will be as follows:

  • Negotiate learning contracts
  • Contribution to peer learning
  • Effective use of feedback to enhance academic skills
  • Presenting learning
  • Annotated bibliography

Assessment

  • The content and presentation of the assessment will be clearly documented in the learning contract.

8

10 or 30

Cognitive Approaches Across the Life Span

Learning outcomes

This course provides students with the opportunity to explore in depth current occupational therapy treatment approaches.  In addition, the student will further their understanding of the theories from other disciplines (for example cognitive psychology) that has informed the development of the occupational therapy specific treatment approaches.

At the completion of this course you will be able to:

  • Discuss the contributions of a a range of theories  to the occupational therapists understanding of cognition.
  • Discuss the influence of cognitive skills such as arousal, attention, memory discrimination and insight nd how this influences occupational engagement.
  • Compare and contrast current occupational therapy treatment approaches across the life span.

Content and process

The content of this course will vary depending on your area of interest. The process undertaken will be as follows:

  • Negotiate learning contracts
  • Contribution to peer learning
  • Effective use of feedback to enhance academic skills
  • Presenting learning
  • Annotated bibliography

Assessment

  • The content and presentation of the assessment will be clearly documented in the learning contract. 

8

30

Further study options

You can choose to move in to the Master of Occupational Therapy qualification at any point as you progress through the Postgraduate Diploma courses. Your path of study will be discussed with the Masters Coordinator to ensure that you have completed the required academic entry criteria for the subsequent programme.

A change for 2023 enrolments

When you apply to study with Otago Polytechnic in 2023, you will be enrolled with Te Pūkenga, the new national network of vocational and applied education in Aotearoa New Zealand. You will learn in the same way, in the same place, and with the same people. The great news is that this enables us to share skills and knowledge across a network of passionate education providers, to better help you succeed. Enrolling in programmes that start in 2023, means that you will graduate with a Te Pūkenga qualification.

Disclaimer

While every effort is made to ensure that this sheet is accurate, Otago Polytechnic reserves the right to amend, alter or withdraw any of the contained information. The fees shown in this document are indicative ONLY. Both domestic and international fees are subject to change and are dependent on the development and implementation of Government policies. Please note that additional fees may from time to time be required for external examination, NZQA fees and/or additional material fees.