eOTD Technical Standards & Vaccination Requirements

The George Washington University (GW) School of Medicine and Health Sciences (SMHS) Entry-Level Doctor of Occupational Therapy (eOTD) program is dedicated to supporting students in all their educational endeavors.

The goal of the program is to prepare students to become general practitioners who can provide quality care to a variety of clients across the lifespan. To successfully complete the program, applicants must have abilities and skills in the following areas: observation; communication; sensory and motor coordination or function; intellectual abilities and professional behavior/social abilities. 

Reasonable accommodations will be made for students with documented disabilities in accordance with GW’s Disability Support Services (DSS). Student must meet all Program standards regardless of reasonable accommodations. Applicants/Students with disabilities who meet the technical standards noted, with or without reasonable accommodations, are not be excluded from participation in, denied the benefits of, nor be subjected to discrimination in the occupational therapy program. 

Skills fundamental to occupational therapy practice and to the eOTD curriculum at GW include, but are not limited to, the following:

Observational Skills

Observational Skills are the ability to receive, perceive, and interpret information from the environment to perform the duties of an occupational therapist. 

Students will be expected to: 

  • Gather information from the immediate environment for the safety of self and others
  • Observe a client accurately at a distance
  • Observe skin integrity
  • Observe changes in facial and body movement
  • Recognize signs of physiological changes in clients
  • Recognize signs of emotional changes in clients
  • Discriminate numbers and findings associated with diagnostic instruments and test

Communication is the ability to receive and to express thoughts and ideas from and to another person to perform the duties of an occupational therapist. 

Students will be expected to: 

  • Communicate effectively and efficiently in English 
  • Communicate effectively with clients, family members, and other health care, education, and social service providers.
  • Participate in group meetings to deliver and receive complex information.
  • Respond to questions from a variety of sources.
  • Respond effectively to all forms of communication.
  • Share information formally and informally with others in an individual and group format.
  • Complete forms according to directions in a timely fashion.
  • Identify and communicate the limits of their sensory, physical, cognitive, social, and emotional abilities to others and implement appropriate solutions.
  • Demonstrate communication skills to effectively train clients, families, and assistive personnel.
Sensory Abilities

Sensory Abilities are the ability to receive, perceive, and interpret information from sensory organs for seeing, hearing, touching, smelling, balancing, and moving to perform the duties of an occupational therapist. 

Students will be expected to: 

  • Demonstrate visual, auditory, tactile, and olfactory senses to respond to client needs in a busy clinical environment 
  • Respond to bells and alarms related to emergencies and client care
    • Perform examination techniques and provide intervention to acutely ill clients without disturbing sensitive monitoring instruments and lines. 

  • Recognize and respond appropriately to emergency situations
    • Perform CPR
    • Perceive client/person and environmental information for clinical examination including but not limited to a person’s language and communication, a person’s observable affective responses such as facial expressions, a person’s physical movements, observing a client’s tissue integrity, palpating a client’s body tissue, a client’s internal vital signs, external sounds, and lights. The client/person may be the person receiving services or another person within the environment.
    • Gathering of information from equipment including but not limited to blood pressure devices, pulse oximeters, biofeedback, goniometers, grip and pinch meters, assessment and equipment, driver’s testing equipment, kitchen, and cooking devices.
    • Demonstrate the safe application of gradient pressures during examination and intervention including manual muscle testing and joint mobilization.
Cognitive Abilities

Cognitive Abilities are the ability to generate, articulate, and reflect upon thoughts and ideas to perform the duties of an occupational therapist. 

Students will be expected to: 

  • Measure, calculate, and reason
  • Identify significant findings from health, education, and social histories, and other physical and mental examinations
  • Interpret clinical data
  • Analyze and synthesize information in a timely manner
  • Solve problems in a timely manner consistent with the demands of the situation.
  • Formulate an appropriate plan of care
  • Comprehend three-dimensional spatial relationships of anatomic structures
  • Always know standard precautions and safety procedures for the protection of self and others
  • Use judgment to effectively delegate to assistive personnel
  • Effectively integrate new information with current knowledge for safety and learning
Motor Abilities

Motor Abilities are the ability to effectively and safely move one’s body as needed to perform the duties of an occupational therapist 

Students will be expected to: 

  • Be sufficiently and efficiently mobile in the environment while providing care during training and client care experiences 
    • Demonstrate sufficient freedom of movement to participate in all coursework, clinical and fieldwork activities, examinations, evaluations, and interventions safely and effectively. 
    • Be mobile for three to four-hour intervals while safely assisting clients during evaluation and intervention activities while preventing injury to client and self. 
  • Safely and effectively facilitate movement of the client’s body during transfers, functional mobility training, positioning, examinations, and therapeutic interventions. 
  • Demonstrate sufficient capacity and tolerance to sustain a typical daily work and school load. 
  • Effectively apply palpation, compression, retraction, resistance, and other diagnostic strategies during examination and intervention procedures 
Emotional Abilities

Emotional Abilities are the ability to self-manage thoughts and feelings as needed to perform the duties of an occupational therapist. 

Students will be expected to: 

  • Establish professional, empathic relationships with individuals from across the life span and from various cultures.
  • Engage in respectful, non-judgmental interactions with disabled and non-disabled individuals from various lifestyles, cultures, races, and socioeconomic levels.
  • Develop and maintain respectful working relationships with peers, faculty, professional colleagues, clients, family members and the public.
  • Work effectively as part of an interdisciplinary team.
  • Self-evaluate through a process of reflection and provide objective peer assessments.
  • Accept appropriate suggestions and criticism and respond with suitable action.
  • Adapt to changing environments 
Ethical and Professional Duties

Ethical and Professional Duties are the ability to abide by professional customs and standards as identified by the professional associations.

Students will be expected to:

  • Abide by the AOTA Code of Ethics, the Occupational Therapy Practice Framework, and the Values and Beliefs of Occupational Therapy which can be found on the American Occupational Therapy Association’s (AOTA) website.
  • Demonstrate integrity and honesty in the academic and clinical environment.
  • Always use standard precautions and safety procedures for the protection of self and others 

Vaccination Requirements 

The GW OTD program utilizes regional and national healthcare facilities to meet clinical and educational goals and objectives. Most healthcare facilities require evidence of vaccinations, including the COVID-19 vaccination (view CDC guidelines here), to participate in clinical experiences at their facilities. All admitted students acknowledge the program may not be able to place a student for clinical education experiences who has not received the required vaccinations, thus delaying their program of study and/or graduation.

Required Vaccinations

  • COVID-19 - See CDC guidelines
  • Tuberculin Skin or Blood Test 
  • Tetanus/Diptheria Booster or T/DAP
  • Varicella (Chicken Pox) Vaccines or Proof of Immunity (Varicella Titer)
  • Measles, Mumps, Rubella (MMR) Vaccines or Proof of Immunity (MMR Titer)
  • Hepatitis B Series or Proof of Immunity (Hepatitis B Titer)
  • Meningococcal Vaccine
  • Annual Flu Vaccine