In response to the demand for therapists and changes in vocational practice, a needs assessment was conducted to update an occupational therapy educational program.
Employing focus groups, interviews and questionnaires, 66 therapists from a wide range of graduating institutions working in vocational practice were asked to: a) identify the essential knowledge, skills and professional behaviours required for vocational practice; b) determine to what extent training is preparing students for vocational practice; and c) make recommendations for curriculum revision and/or for additional curriculum development. Participants and their jobs were profiled together with the challenges and issues of vocational practice.
There was strong agreement among participants regarding what is required to practice effectively but disparate views concerning the extent they were prepared for practice.
Recommendations were given for entry and postgraduate level curricula. Findings were compared to a past community practice survey. Implications for practicums, professional integrity and ethical issues were discussed.