Welcome to the Indian Hills Community College Occupational Therapy Assistant (OTA) program. The OTA program is seven terms (21 Months) in length and upon successful completion of the program the student will be awarded an Associate of Applied Sciences (AAS) Degree.
Indian Hills Community College is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission, a member of the North Central Association and the State of Iowa’s Department of Education. The Occupational Therapy Assistant program has been granted accreditation by the Accreditation Council for Occupational Therapy Education (ACOTE) of the American Occupational Therapy Association, located at: 6116 Executive Blvd. Suite 200 North Bethesda, MD 20852-4929. ACOTE’s telephone number is: (301) 652-6611. Email: [email protected] Website: www.acoteonline.org. Graduates are eligible to sit for the national certification examination for the Occupational Therapy Assistant, administered by the National Board for Certification in Occupational Therapy (NBCOT). Website: www.nbcot.org. After successful completion of this exam the individual will be considered a Certified Occupational Therapy Assistant (COTA).
The Occupational Therapy Assistant program is part of the Health Sciences Division. This division is led by the Executive Director of Career and Workforce Development and the Associate Dean of Health Sciences. The Occupational Therapy Assistant Program is led by a Program Director, who oversees the OTA instructor/OTA Fieldwork coordinator.
The OTA Program Policy Manual is to serve as a guide for all students enrolled in the Occupational Therapy Assistant program. It is a supplement to the Indian Hills Community College Student Handbook and College Catalog. Consequently all policies and regulations from the handbook and catalog are to be observed in addition to those outlined in the following pages.
We welcome you and want you to know that we are here to assist you in every way possible. It is a privilege to have each of you in the Occupational Therapy Assistant program.
Occupational Therapy Assistant Program Mission & Philosophy
The Occupational Therapy Assistant program inspires lifelong learning by providing student centered learning in classroom, lab and local community to prepare our students to be high quality, professional entry level COTAs that improve the health and wellness of all individuals served across the lifespan.
The philosophy of the Occupational Therapy Assistant Program at Indian Hills Community College (IHCC) is consistent with the beliefs of the College and the published philosophy of the American Occupational Therapy Association. The Occupational Therapy Assistant philosophy acknowledges “changing lives by inspiring learning, diversity, social enrichment, and regional economic advancement”, as specified in the mission of Indian Hills Community College.
The OTA philosophy acknowledges that “occupations are activities that bring meaning to daily lives” and that “all individuals have an innate need and right to engage in meaningful occupations throughout their lives.” (AOTA. 2017). Engaging in activity is a theme that is strongly RI0ted in our program and is the premise of how courses are designed to encourage exploration in experiential learning activities, student collaborations and community pursuits while educating students in the importance of thier own occupational engagement. As practitioners, we know how important occupations are to the health and wellness of individuals across the lifespan and add meaning to thier daily lives. These meaningful activities and engagements in occupation allows for participation in society, fulfilling the innate need to having a sense of purpose and meaning. Students are viewed as occupational beings who are in dynamic transaction with the learning context and the teaching-learning process, and therefore, a variety of teaching methods are incorporated to address individual learning styles. IHCC supports students as they adapt and adjust to the increasing demands of the profession, as well the ever changing health care environment that is “fundamental to health promotion and wellness, remediation or restoration, health maintenance, disease and injury prevention, and compensation and adaptation.” (AOTA. 2017).
The AOTA is a national organization dedicated to the promotion of occupational therapy. Students are encouraged to join the AOTA and become active in its functions.
Information concerning the AOTA is available in the OTA program office, by phone at: (301) 652-AOTA, or by internet at: www.aota.org.
Definition and Utilization of the Occupational Therapy Assistant
The Occupational Therapy Assistant is a technically educated health care provider, with a strong physical science and psychology background, who collaborate with the Occupational Therapist to provide services to clients. Client interventions focus on participation in selected activities to restore, reinforce and enhance performance and regain skills essential for adaptation and participation in daily life skills. In order to become a Certified Occupational Therapy Assistant, a student must graduate from an accredited Occupational Therapy Assistant Associate Degree Program and successfully pass their national certification exam.
The Occupational Therapist is directly responsible for the actions of the Occupational Therapy Assistant related to patient/client management. The Occupational Therapy Assistant may assist the Occupational Therapist with evaluation, goal setting, and implementation of care and documentation under the direction and at least general supervision of the Occupational Therapist. The Occupational Therapy Assistant may modify an intervention in accordance with changes in patient/client status within the scope of the established plan of care. The Occupational Therapy Assistant may be employed in practice settings such as; acute care hospitals, skilled nursing facilities, outpatient rehabilitation programs, community settings, pediatric facilities or school programs and is proficient in working with populations from pediatrics to older adults. In all practice settings, the performance of selected interventions by the Occupational Therapist Assistant must be consistent with safe and legal Occupational Therapy practice, and shall be dictated by the complexity and acuity of the patient’s/client’s needs and appropriate safety measures in the setting that the service is provided. When supervising the Occupational Therapy Assistant in any off site setting, the Occupational Therapy Assistant and the Occupational Therapist must follow the guidelines established by AOTA and by guidelines issued by federal and state licensure requirements. The following are links to up to date information.
To view the full Non-Discrimination Statement, please visit the College Catalog & Student Handbook or the college website.
All students entering Indian Hills Community College (IHCC) Health Sciences programs are required to submit the following documents:
- High school transcripts can be unofficial copies; however, they must be sent from school to IHCC.
- Approved placement exams for Health Science programs include ACT, SAT or Accuplacer.
- Accuplacer results must be completed within two years prior to the program start term.
- Students are only allowed to complete the Accuplacer exam three times within a calendar year with a minimum of two weeks between exams.
- ACT/SAT results must be completed within five years prior to the program start term.
- Official College transcripts (if applicable) must be mailed to IHCC using the address below.
- Grade Point Average (GPA) transferred in from an accredited higher education institution requires at least eight cumulative college credit hours from one institution in order to be used for the screening process. Transfer of courses in the core OTA curriculum will be considered on an individual basis. To be considered for transfer credit, the student must have achieved the minimum grade as outlined by the college’s transfer credit policy.
High School Evaluation Policy
Students wishing to enroll in a health science program at Indian Hills College must submit a copy of their high school transcripts. If a student has completed high school outside of the United States, they must have their documents evaluated by a Foreign Credential Evaluation company. An official evaluation report must be submitted directly from the evaluation company to Indian Hills College. High School evaluation reports must state the student has the equivalency of a U.S high school diploma. Also students be aware that we must have a GPA to use for the screening process. This GPA must come either on the completed evaluation report or an accredited education institution within the United States.
The Occupational Therapy Assistant Program at Indian Hills Community College prepares students with clinical and practice skills to succeed in occupational therapy through arts, science, and professional education. The program expands over 7 terms with 2 full time fieldwork experiences in the last 2 terms of the program. The purpose of this program is to provide graduates with the behaviors, skills, and ethics to succeed. Curricular threads are dispersed throughout each level of the program. They are introduced and reinforced throughout the terms to highlight important knowledge and skills. The curriculum is designed to provide the graduate with the following program learning outcomes. At graduation students will:
- exhibit entry level professional, ethical behaviors and clinical competencies.
- provide safe and quality services in a variety of practice environments across the lifespan.
- offer innovative, remedial or adaptive interventions while adhering to safety precautions for all patients, families and staff.
- utilize evidence based practices for health promotion and disease prevention.
Major curricular threads that are embedded throughout the program curriculum include:
- The premise that learners integrate knowledge best when prior knowledge and experiences connect with new learning. Didactic work begins with prerequisites and foundational courses to lay the groundwork for more advanced concepts and experiential learning throughout the program.
- Experiential learning provides students with diverse opportunities to apply information outside of the classroom. Learning activities focus on utilizing evidence based practice techniques to facilitate client centered interventions. Fieldwork opportunities are woven into terms III, IV and V to allow students to learn and integrate information throughout the term in specific classes followed by level II experiences.
- Collaborative learning opportunities occur throughout the educational journey that build professional behaviors in our students. Students have opportunities throughout the program to collaborate with community professionals, participate in field trips and volunteer in the community. Experts in the community serve as guest speakers and role models to assist with specialized labs. These diverse learning experiences give students the opportunity to develop professional skills that will foster strong inter/intra-professional context.
- Students utilize concepts of clinical reasoning to create client centered interventions for populations across the lifespan in preparation for work in multiple settings.
- The last important curricular thread is the exploration of the importance of occupation on individual health and wellness. Students learn to understand and apply occupation and purposeful activity to aid in recovery and restoration of function in a variety of patient populations across the lifespan. Students also learn about skills that will help foster mental and physical wellness in their own lives to emphasize the importance of life balance and coping mechanisms.
This curriculum design supports both IHCC and the OTA program mission statements. The curriculum design is grounded in the combined theories of the occupational therapy process and educational developmental needs of the adult learner. The OTA program is designed so the learner follows a developmental process building on a solid general education foundation. Layering of course content allows for increased complexity throughout the curriculum.
Adult learners bring life experience, motivation and a readiness to learn to the classroom. They are typically self-directed, may be motivated by extrinsic forces (i.e. need a job/career), and are generally task oriented (Imel, 1994). Faculty serve as classroom facilitators and understand that students should be involved in designing and directing their learning in ways that are meaningful to them. Faculty design classes to meet the needs of diverse learning preferences, since adult learners bring multiple perspectives and knowledge to the classroom with diverse backgrounds, learning styles, experiences, and aspirations. Faculty utilize their understanding of the needs of adult learners and the importance of providing a variety of learning activities that provide students with the knowledge needed to become entry level practitioners no matter what their learning preferences are. Faculty in this program have rich backgrounds in a variety of areas of Occupational Therapy and include those experiences in classroom and lab work to make learning more meaningful. The Curriculum Design content and program’s beliefs about learning clearly demonstrate the rationale for courses offered, sequencing of courses, and evaluation strategies to assure information is being shared efficiently. Faculty review core course syllabus, learning activities and course schedule to ensure alignment to curriculum.
Faculty utilize collaborative and experiential learning theories to create a learning environment that also mirrors the future collaborative processes that occur between therapist and consumer when the OTA implements the occupational therapy process. Students have opportunities for experiential learning through lab and community experiences that emphasize the didactic information learned in the classroom. Experiential learning is infused throughout the curriculum. Gaining knowledge through “doing” and “making meaning” are essential to “being” and “becoming” Occupational Therapy Assistants. The placement of level I fieldwork experiences is purposeful to provide meaningful experiences in the field of OT that relate to information learned in the classroom. Collaborative learning gives students an opportunity to engage in discussion, take responsibility for their own learning, and thus become critical thinkers. It is an instruction method in which students at various performance levels work together in small groups toward a common goal. Vygotsky’s theories stress the fundamental role of social interaction in the development of cognition and the belief that community plays a central role in the process of “making meaning” (Vygotsky, 1978). Adult learners who engage in collaborative learning are provided the opportunity to not simply take in new information or ideas but actively work together to explain and use new information, ideas, and skills. Collaborative classrooms motivate students by getting them actively engaged in a purposeful activity with other students with varying levels of ability.
In the first two terms, the curriculum explores the definition, domain and process of occupational therapy, the sciences of the human body and mind that support occupational performances, and the art of communication components. The students appreciate each other’s experiences and aspirations through sharing of the journey to the OTA program. They are provided with suggestions of strategies to promote learning and engage in learning activities to enrich their knowledge. Terms III, IV and V deeply explore theories and interventions specific to the OTA practitioner and examine clients throughout the lifespan in different environmental contexts in both traditional and non traditional settings. These didactic, lab and community experiences then prepare students for level II fieldwork experiences which occurs in terms VI and VII. Wrapped around these two fieldwork experiences are the final classroom experiences of Professional Issues In OT and Clinical Reasoning which begin the transition of student to practitioner with topics regarding certification, licensure, job securement, reexamination of ethical principles, and continual application of clinical reasoning secured in evidence based practice. Learners are provided with the opportunity to both learn and teach using a collaborative approach to studying. The instructor’s role is to serve as a facilitator for learning. The students are responsible for each other’s learning as well as their own. This instructional method will transfer to the students’ fieldwork sites where they will further experience the collaborative method when working with clients as part of rehabilitation, community- based programs, educational, or any other service delivery team structure. Students work together to discover what happens when the learning style of an individual is ineffective when disease, injury, or disability occurs. Students are given opportunity to identify client centered interventions in illness and preventive contexts, addressing types of learning styles.
To view the full program curriculum, please visit the College Catalog & Student Handbook.
Core Course Descriptions
To view the course descriptions, please click on the links below. (must be updated for each program)
- Occupational Therapy Assistant:
- OTA 106 - Trends in OTA (hybrid format)
- OTA 121 - Principles of OT (hybrid format)
- OTA 171 - Psychosocial Practice for the OTA
- OTA 141 - Therapeutic Media in OT
- OTA 151 - Adult Physical Disability Practice for the OTA
- OTA 161 - Traditional and Emerging Practice in OT
- OTA 131 - Pediatric Practice for the OTA
- OTA 210 -Professional Issues in OT
- OTA 212 -Functional Kinesiology
- OTA 220 -Clinical Reasoning for OTA
- OTA 801 - OTA Level IA Fieldwork
- OTA 811 - OTA Level IB Fieldwork
- OTA 821 - OTA Level IC Fieldwork
- OTA 831 - OTA Level IIA Fieldwork
- OTA 841 - OTA Level IIB Fieldwork
Required Healthcare Training Courses
Students in the Health Sciences Division are required to complete the following courses:
- Dependent Adult and Child Abuse
- HIPAA Training
- Blood-borne pathogens training
- CPR: American Heart Association BLS for infant, child and adult
- Required Healthcare Training Courses
Occupational Therapy Assistant Program Facilities
Lecture and laboratory sessions will be held on the Indian Hills Community College’s Ottumwa main campus. All classes are scheduled Monday through Thursday, usually between the hours of 8:00 am and 4:30 pm. General education classes may be taken at the Centerville campus or IHCC service centers during the day or evening. Core Occupational Therapy Assistant courses and labs are held in the Rosenman building. Occasionally, open laboratory time may be set by the instructor to meet curriculum requirements and student practice needs. Off-campus field trips or lab experiences may include visits to other OT schools, and OT/healthcare related sites within reasonable distance from the school. These field trips may occur on Fridays and it will be the student’s responsibility to provide their own transportation for these opportunities.
At Indian Hills Community College the safety and security of our students, faculty and staff is always a priority. Safety and the prevention of accidents are the responsibility of faculty, staff and students. Everyone on campus is encouraged to use all available resources and information, as well as common sense decisions, to help foster a safe environment. Refer to the college catalog, student handbook, and appropriate signage posted throughout the campus for policies and procedures regarding safety on campus. If an accident or injury occurs while on the Indian Hills Community College campus, it will be immediately reported to a member of the staff or faculty. Emergency care will be provided on campus until emergency medical services arrive. Students are required to attend CPR courses or provide proof of current certification. Students are encouraged to input Security phone number and Emergency Alert on electronic devices for easy access and notification of events like weather or school closings.
In the lab, emergency procedures are posted with a QR code to access emergency numbers, fire, first aid and lock down procedures. Safety checks of equipment is made by faculty to assure compliance and standard and specific diagnostic/treatment precautions are instructed and may have check-off competencies completed. Students are to report any safety hazards to faculty.
While attending clinical and off campus laboratory activities, health and safety policies and procedures of the facility will be observed. If an accident or injury occurs during a clinical experience the procedure described in the OTA Student Fieldwork Manual under the heading “Clinical Experience Incidents” will be followed. If an accident or injury occurs during an off-campus laboratory experience, it will immediately be reported to the instructor and the staff at the facility so the appropriate procedures can be followed.
The purpose of clinical experience is to give students the opportunity to apply the knowledge and skills acquired in the classroom to a hands-on patient care situation. The clinical portion is designed to provide students learning experiences with patients, other health care providers, utilization of support staff and time management. Each student will be supervised by a licensed Occupational Therapist or licensed Occupational Therapy Assistant during level II experiences, or other qualified health care professionals during level I, at a facility affiliated with the OTA program. Students are expected to abide by the hours and policies of the assigned clinical facility. Level II field work must be completed within 12 months of clinical didactic portion of the program.
CLINICAL AFFILIATION PROCESS
The clinical affiliation process follows the outlined policy:
- A requested/selected clinical site will be contacted by the Program Director/Clinical Coordinator to determine interest and feasibility of serving as a clinical/practicum/professional practice site.
- All contracts are kept and organized by the Health Sciences Assistant.Program Director/Clinical Coordinator must communicate with the Assistant regarding the status of the Clinical Affiliation Agreement.
- A Clinical Site Agreement will be sent to the proposed clinical/practicum site.After the agreement is signed by the facility administration, it is returned to IHCC for signatures by the Associate Dean, Health Sciences.
- Clinical Affiliation agreements will be reviewed annually or as specified by the Program’s accreditation standards.When able, contracts will be automatically renewed.
- Students will not be assigned to clinical sites that do not have a current, signed clinical agreement in place.
Clinical experiences are scheduled as follows:
||One day each week for 10 weeks or according to assigned site availability
||One day each week for 10 weeks or according to assigned site availability
||One day each week for 10 weeks or according to assigned site availability
||Five days a week for 8 weeks
||Five days a week for 8 weeks
Indian Hills Community College maintains professional liability coverage for students in the Health Sciences Division. This coverage includes the Occupational Therapy Assistant students.
Selected clinical sites require that students have health insurance. If a student is assigned to a clinical location with a health insurance requirement, proof of health insurance coverage must be documented. Students will be assigned to another available clinical site if they do not have documentation of health insurance coverage.
As stated on the IHCC clinical site agreement, “Indian Hills agrees to hold and maintain professional liability insurance coverage on all Indian Hills Health Sciences students”. Clinical sites are provided a copy of the “Certificate of Liability Insurance” form annually at the time of the clinical site agreement review.
Clinical education is an essential learning experience and sites are chosen to meet the student’s need for a comprehensive education. Although we have many contracts with sites, there may be limitations in fieldwork availability in the immediate area due to demographics and staffing issues. Final determination rests with Academic Fieldwork Coordinator. A student cannot complete two Level II fieldwork at same site unless working in two different service areas.
*Clinical affiliations are available primarily in our 10 county region, but extend outside of Iowa, and are based on site availability and student needs. Students are required to provide their own transportation to and from sites.
A student may be scheduled at a requested site if it provides an appropriate learning experience and is available at the requested time. Students may be asked to drive between facilities if the therapist assigned to them travels between buildings.
Clinical affiliations will not be scheduled in occupational therapy departments in which the student is currently employed. The student may not be under clinical supervision of a family member or close friend.
Students are not to be substituted for paid staff during any clinical assignments.
Students are encouraged to maintain their own personal health care coverage, at their own costs. While clinical education sites will make emergency medical care available to students, the student is responsible for the costs. Students may be required by some clinical facilities to have proof of health insurance prior to beginning a clinical affiliation.
All incidents that are inconsistent with routine care or the patient’s plan of care must be reported to the Academic Fieldwork Coordinator immediately. If a medical emergency occurs the policies of the facility will be followed. The condition of the involved person(s) will be evaluated and the necessary emergency care will be provided. A written report describing the incident should be completed according to facility policy. In addition, the AFWC is to be notified of the incident by the student. The AFWC will complete the IHCC “Safety and Loss Control” form and forward the document to the Health Sciences Department Chair.
Prospective employers consider attendance records a good indicator of future employee behavior and typically inquire about the attendance records of the student/graduate. The faculty and clinical instructors consider attendance important because learning rarely takes place if a student is absent, regardless of the reason. Therefore, to satisfactorily complete the performance expectations of the occupational therapy assistant program, the following policies must be adhered to:
- Students are expected to be in attendance for all classes. Do not schedule extended vacations, routine doctor appointments, etc. during scheduled class time- use published school breaks as a guide.
- If a student is unable to attend, they are to report their absence each day by 7:15 am, stating their name and the reason for missing that day. The student will notify an IHCC OTA instructor at the phone number provided at the beginning of each course.
- The student must initiate the classroom assignment make-up process.
- Students will NOT be allowed to make-up classroom work, including exams unless the instructor has been notified regarding the absence.
- The instructor and the student will arrange a schedule for completion of make-up work.
- Points will be deducted for assignments turned in late. See specific course syllabus.
- Children may not attend class with the parent.
- Students must have a completed physical to participate in any OTA Lab courses.
- Cell phones will be turned off and put away during class unless you have permission from instructor to have on vibrate or are using in a class assignment.
- Students are expected to be present for all clinical experiences.
- The clinical instructor at the assigned facility should be notified by student regarding an absence at least an hour before start time.
- The student should also report the absence to the IHCC AFWC at the phone number provided at the beginning of each course or at (641) 684-4244 or 1-800-726-2585 X4244 or through the web services course web page.
- Clinical attendance will be documented in the student’s record.
- If a student does not report for clinical as scheduled, the clinical instructor and the OTA faculty will counsel the student and provide documentation for the student’s file. Changes in the clinical schedule, including make-up days must be coordinated and approved by the Academic Fieldwork Coordinator and/or Clinical Education and or OTA faculty member.
- Students will be allowed eight hours of clinical absence during the 21 months of the program.
- Students failing to comply with attendance requirements above may be recommended for dismissal from the program.
- A release from a physician will be required to return to clinical following three or more consecutive days of absence due to illness/injury.
- Children may not attend clinical with the parent.
- Before leaving the clinical site, the student must report to the clinical instructor.
Leave of Absence Policy
Students wishing to take a leave of absence from the OTA program must submit a written request to the OTA Program Director. A leave of absence may be granted for emergencies including: hospitalization, birth of a child, or death in the student’s immediate family. A leave of absence may be granted if:
- The student has demonstrated the ability to meet the performance expectations of the program.
- The student and faculty are able to develop a curricular plan that assures the students’ progression through the program.
- The student must be able to meet course requirements no later than six weeks following the date the leave of absence is granted, following the “Incomplete Grades” policy, as described in the college catalog.
In order to graduate, a student must receive a passing grade in all courses listed for that major and achieve a cumulative grade point average (GPA) of 2.0 or above. This is equivalent to a “C” average.
Minimum satisfactory scholastic achievement is represented by a 2.0 grade point average each term of enrollment. Students who fall below this level will be placed on academic probation for the following term. Students who fail to achieve a 2.0 GPA during their probationary term may then be dismissed from the OTA program. Students not dismissed must have permission from the Health Sciences Executive Dean and from the IHCC Registrar to re-enroll for the next term. Very poor work in any term, however, may result in dismissal at the close of that term. Academic probation may affect financial aid. The student is encouraged to see a financial aid counselor for clarification of an individual situation.
Students who are unable to complete assigned work in a course, due to a pre-approved event, may be given a grade of an “I” (Incomplete). Students much complete the assigned work as soon as possible (at the discretion of the OTA Instructor and/or OTA Program Director), but no later than six weeks into the following term. Grades for courses left with an “I” past the six week completion period will automatically convert to an “F”. Level II fieldwork must be completed within 12 months of clinical didactic program.
To successfully complete the OTA program, a student must achieve a passing grade in all non-core pre-requisite courses, and a minimum of a grade “C” in the following courses: BIO175 Human Anatomy, BIO176 Human Anatomy Lab, BIO178 Human Physiology, BIO179 Human Physiology Lab. Students will first contact the course instructor regarding questions with individual course assignments and grades. Failure to pass the listed non-core courses with a “C”, 78%, or better will result in the student not being eligible to continue in the core OTA curriculum sequence. Students who fail to earn a “C” or better in a core OTA course will be required to repeat the course at its next offering, typically the following academic year. See the OTA re-entry policy. Core OTA courses include: OTA105, OTA121, OTA131, OTA141, OTA212, OTA801, OTA151, OTA161, OTA811, OTA 171, OTA821, OTA210, OTA831, OTA220 and OTA841.
All programs in the Health Sciences Division are required to adhere to this standard. Specific evaluation/grading criteria for individual courses are outlined on the course syllabus and provided to students in a written format on the first day of class. The specified grading criteria may not be changed during the course.
Class attendance may not be used as evaluation criteria. Points may not be awarded for classroom/clinical attendance; however, points may be awarded for participation in classroom activities (i.e. participation in case study presentations, review activities, pop quizzes).
At midterm and at the end of the term, faculty members are required to submit grades through Web Advisor. A memo will be sent at midterm and end of the term to inform the faculty of due dates.
Health Sciences grading is based upon the following percentage scale:
You may compute your GPA at any time by following this example:
|Pediatric Practice for the OTA
|OTA Clinical I
|Therapeutic Media in OT
|Credit Hours = 11
||Total Grade Points = 30
Total Grade Points divided by Credit Hours (excluding pass/fail) = Grade Point Average (GPA)
(30/10 = 3.0 GPA)
- Written examinations will be given in each core course and laboratory practicals will be given in selected core courses.
- Each instructor will determine the test schedule and content of the tests.
- Each student must notify the course instructor prior to examination time if they are going to be absent.
- The classroom assignment make-up process must be initiated by the student.
- Students will NOT be allowed to make-up classroom work, including exams unless the instructor has been notified regarding the absence.
- The instructor and the student will arrange a schedule for completion of make-up work.
- All make-up testing will be done at the IHCC testing center located in Trustee Hall.
- The instructor may determine that an alternate format test be given if a students is absent on the scheduled day of the exam.
- Final examinations will be scheduled for each course.
- Students must pass each OTA program core course laboratory practical with a 78% or above. A student may repeat any component of laboratory skills practical only once. The instructor will determine which components of the practical are to be repeated. A student who requires a second attempt on lab practical exams may earn a maximum of 84% for the practical score.
To view the full Appeal of Final Grade Policy, please visit the College Catalog & Student Handbook.
Students may be re-admitted to the OTA program following withdrawal or suspension following the re-entry procedure outlined below. If more than one academic year has passed since the students has been in the OTA program, the student may be required to re-apply through the admissions office. The student will be required to complete competency check offs for each core OTA course already successfully completed prior to re-entry. If the student does not demonstrate competence, they may be required to repeat the course from which the competency was failed. Students who have not completed the program within three years of admission, will be required to complete all core OTA courses previously taken. Students may not re-enter the program if class size will surpass published ratio for class/lab.
If a student fails a core OTA course during the first term of the OTA program, they will be dismissed from the program and may re-apply to the program the following year. Students will be admitted based on grade point average and test scores (ACT or AUCCUPLACER).
Students re-admitted to the OTA program have only one opportunity to reinstate and complete the program. Any subsequent core OTA course failures will result in dismissal from the program and the student will not be accepted for re-entry into the OTA program.
For students who have been re-admitted to the program, subsequent re-admission for any personal/medical leaves will be considered on an individual basis.
If a student fails two or more core OTA courses that are held concurrently in the same term, the student may be re-admitted following the re-entry policy, the following year and repeat the courses failed within that term.
- To be considered for re-entry, a student must submit a written request to the OTA Program Director within six months of withdrawal or suspension, stating the term and year in which they wish to return.
- Following withdrawal or suspension, any student who plans to continue general education coursework at Indian Hills will need to complete a change of major form for re-entry with the Program Director.
- Students must meet current OTA program entrance criteria.
- Students must meet program curriculum requirements for the academic year in which they are re-instated.
- Students will follow the OTA program policies and procedures in place the year of the re-instatement.
- Continuing students will be given priority over re-entering students to ensure adequate space in the class.
Academic Misconduct Policy
To view the full Academic Misconduct Policy, please visit the College Catalog & Student Handbook.
OTA Instructors, and the OTA Program Director are available for academic counseling. OT faculty will serve as individual advisors for students throughout the program. Further counseling is available to students through assigned counselors or by student choice. The Occupational Therapy Assistant program faculty have office hours that are posted on offices and provided on each syllabus. Students are welcome to meet with faculty during posted office hours or could contact faculty for additional times if needed.
OTA faculty review students’ progress throughout each term and meet with students at least bi-annually for advising, or as requested by either faculty or student. Counseling will always be held confidential and conducted in a professional manner.
A Conference Report is completed any time that an instructor meets with a student regarding a concern (i.e. grades, study habits, attendance, clinical/practicum or classroom behaviors, communication problems). The Conference Report is completed indicating the reason for the conference, documentation to support the concern and recommendations to resolve the concern. If appropriate, the final date to withdraw is included on the conference report.
The student must sign the Conference Report to indicate that it was read. If the student refuses to sign the report, the person completing the forms should indicate the reason for the student’s failure to sign and sign his/her name and date by the reason. Signing the Conference Report does not imply agreement with what is written. The student should always be offered the opportunity to respond to the conference with a written statement on the form. If the student requests, a copy of the Conference Report should be provided. The completed Conference Report is then placed in the student’s file.
The Conference Report Form is located on the Health Sciences shared drive (G: Forms).
Students in the Occupational Therapy Assistant program represent the school and the profession of Occupational Therapy. It is imperative that certain standards be met and a dress code followed. During class periods, students may use their own judgment in attire, but it must conform to the codes of decency. While in the laboratory students will be expected to have appropriate lab attire to expose the area being studied. This may include shorts and t-shirts. Occupational Therapy Assistant students need to abide a dress code while on clinical. You will be notified by AFWC regarding specific dress code when assigned a fieldwork location. General guidelines are:
Clinical Dress Code
- Students may be required to wear a white clinical lab coat over their street clothes or a specific “uniform”. This requirement will be determined by the supervisor at the assigned clinical site.
- The student will wear clothing consistent with the clinic’s expectations.
- Clothes will be clean, neatly pressed and free of odor.
- No perfume or after shave lotion.
- Students will be clean, free of body odor and have well-trimmed fingernails.
- Hair color and makeup will be conservative in nature.
- Long hair will be pulled back. Beards and mustaches will be neatly trimmed.
- Jewelry will be kept to a minimum and consistent with the clinic’s expectations.
- Appropriate undergarments will be worn.
- Name tags denoting “Student OTA” status will be worn.
- Shoes will be practical walking shoes that are closed-toe, have closed back and have non-slip soles. Socks must be worn. Athletic shoes may only be worn if approved by the clinical site.
Any student who chooses to disregard the dress code will be verbally warned once and the second infraction will warrant a written warning. A third infraction will result in suspension from the clinical site on that same day until a conference is held with the OTA Program Director or Academic Fieldwork Coordinator.
In a classroom and clinical situation students must conduct themselves in a professional manner. In the clinical setting the Fieldwork Performance Evaluation will be used to assess professional conduct and in the classroom the Professional Development Assessment form will be utilized. Inappropriate conduct will result in a conference with the Clinical Educator and if deemed necessary the Academic Fieldwork Coordinator and/or Program Director. Behavior deemed unprofessional may lead to dismissal from the program.
Social Media Policy
Social Media is a dynamic platform for interaction through words, images, audio and video. Examples of these sites include, but are not limited to: Facebook, Snapchat, Instagram, LinkedIn, Twitter, YouTube and many more. The Occupational Therapy Assistant Program at Indian Hills Community College respects the rights of its faculty and students to use social media outlets as a means of self -expression. However, posts made on social media sites may become viral at any time or may be available on public platforms potentially permanently; even when they have been deleted from the website to which they were originally posted. Social media sites have the potential to reflect both negatively and positively on any user’s future and their future employment. Students and faculty at IHCC have both ethical and legal obligations with any social media communications. Thus, IHCC has adopted this social media policy for its faculty and students. It is the expectation of the college that its content will be adhered to.
The intent of the policy is not to restrict the flow of communication, but to provide guidance for professional, ethical and legal interactions for all of the participants. The following, are examples of students conduct that in any form of social media are considered unprofessional and may result in disciplinary action and or dismissal from the program.
- Posting or discussing confidential patient/family information or photographs. IHCC considers confidentiality of our patients and families to be of the utmost importance. Any direct or indirect disclosure of patient or family information is subject to disciplinary action/termination.
- Posting or discussing information about IHCC, IHCC Services, clients, employees, or anyone associated with the college.
- Posting or discussing defamatory or false information about IHCC, college services, clients, vendors, employees or anyone associated with the college that is disparaging in nature.
- Harassing of discriminatory postings of any discussions concerning anyone associated with IHCC. Students are expressly prohibited from using any social media platform to harass, bully or intimidate other students, faculty or anyone associated with the college. This would include the following: Derogatory comments with regard to race, creed, religion, national origin, ancestry, genetic information, sex, age, disability, sexual orientation, marital status, political beliefs, Veteran status, etc. This includes any and all other protected class or status information recognized by federal, state and local laws.
- Sexually suggestive, humiliating or demeaning comments.
- Threats to intimidate of physically harm an employee, student, of anyone associated or affiliated with the college.
- Speaking or posting in any way on behalf of the college without explicit permission of the President of the College.
- Posting work related pictures of college employees, students of anyone associated with the college without that persons’ permission.
- Students are not allowed to access social media sites during any class or clinical without the express permission of the classroom or clinical instructor. Students doing this for any non-school related purposes will be subject to disciplinary action/termination.
- Additionally, students who identify themselves in any social media platform as an IHCC student must recognize and adhere to the following additional guidelines. Others may view you as a representative of the college. Because of this distinct possibility, students who choose to identify themselves in this manner are required, as a condition of their enrollment, to observe some additional guidelines when referring to the college, college employees, faculty, its’ programs and activities. Students who identify themselves as an IHCC student must be respectful of all social media platforms and communications that make reference to IHCC, its employees, faculty or anyone associated with IHCC. Any obscenities, profanity, vulgar language or images are prohibited.
- Any discussions referencing conduct that is prohibited by the college or college policies is prohibited.
Any failure on the part of the student to comply with these guidelines for social media conduct will result in disciplinary action up to and including dismissal from the college.
Sexual Misconduct Policy
To view the full Sexual Misconduct Policy, please visit the College Catalog & Student Handbook or the college website.
Placement services are available to assist students, graduates, and alumni in obtaining employment. Contacts with healthcare facilities are maintained to help individuals find employment. Every reasonable effort is made to assist the student in finding satisfactory job opportunities. Student, graduates and alumni may view job openings on the Indian Hills Community College website or the OTA opportunity Facebook page.
Once admitted to the program students must attend a mandatory orientation time to receive additional information and sign forms required to begin the program. Students must complete mandatory observation hours, as provided by admissions once accepted into the program, or alternative activities to fulfill this requirement. Students must also complete and submit information to Castlebranch prior to the first day of class. This information includes; criminal background check, drug test, health exam form and receive all necessary vaccinations or titers.
Registration typically begins four (4) weeks before the end of the term. Registration dates are published yearly and are specified on the Instructional Timelines Calendar. Students are encouraged to register online using the course schedule provided by the Health Sciences Division. General education courses are specified on the program schedule. The Arts and Sciences division makes the general education courses available to all students (despite the program major) two weeks after registration begins. Therefore, students must register for the general education courses as soon as possible. Course numbers and section numbers are identified on the course schedules to assist student.
Criminal Background Check
**Please note: A felony conviction may affect a graduate’s ability to sit for the NBCOT certification examination or obtain a state license. An Early Determination process by NBCOT is available to assess eligibility for examination and practice. For more information regarding this process, please login to www.nbcot.org, click the student tab, click the tab Early Determination; under character review, access the Certification Exam Handbook and review page eight and nine. You may also contact NBCOT directly at 301-990-7979.
National and state criminal and dependent adult/child abuse checks are required of every student preparing to enroll in an Indian Hills Community College Health Science program. The cost of the required checks is the responsibility of the student/applicant.
The criminal and dependent adult/child background check procedure is established to meet the requirements for the partnerships between the college and the clinical facilities and/or sites. Students who have a criminal history and are cleared to participate in an IHCC Health Sciences program are still responsible to work with their professional licensing or certification board for determination if they are eligible to sit for that profession’s licensure or certification. An Early Determination process is in place with NBCOT. Please see program director for additional information.
Background checks must be completed prior to starting the program or as directed by the program director in special circumstances. Students who fail to complete the required checks may not be able to attend laboratory or clinical experiences.
Students who change from one IHCC Health Science program to another without a term between may use the first program’s check ONLY if it is not more than 12 months since the initial check was run.
Students who complete a Health Science program and have more than one term before the next program starts will need to have the check repeated, no matter how long ago the first check was completed.
Criteria used to determine whether a student is ineligible to participate in an Indian Hills Community College Health Sciences Program:
|At Any Time
- Refusal to participate in the background check or evaluation process.
- Iowa DHS record check evaluation determines the student is not eligible to participate in the clinical portion of the course and/or to work in a health care facility.
- A felony conviction.
- A felony, serious misdemeanor or aggravated misdemeanor conviction in which the probationary period has not been completed.
- A serious misdemeanor or aggravated misdemeanor conviction in which the probationary period has not been completed.
- A criminal conviction, or any kind, related to past employment, and/or a healthcare system or organization.
- Inclusion on the child, dependent adult and/or sexual abuse registry.
|The Past 5 Years
- A criminal conviction of any kind related to illegal distribution or theft of drugs.
|The Past 2 Years
- A serious or aggravated misdemeanor conviction of theft or a pattern of theft convictions.
|The Past 1 Year
- A criminal conviction related to the possession of drugs, paraphernalia, and/or illegal substances.
|Any of the criteria listed below may disqualify you from enrollment in IHCC;s Health Sciences program based on factors such as job/program relatedness, patterns, time frames and/or completion of sentence.
- Recent criminal conviction(s) or charges of any type.
- A misdemeanor conviction involving domestic abuse with injury, violence, or sexual misconduct.
- A pattern of criminal convictions or charges
- 2 or more OWI convictions
|While enrolled in any Health Sciences program at IHCC, it is expected that students report all child abuse, dependent adult abuse, and/or criminal activity, in which they are involved, to IHCC within forty-eight (48) hours of the incident. Failure to do so could result in criminal charges per Iowa Code and removal from the program.
Process for Criminal and Abuse background checks for non nursing majors:
National/State Background Check
Students who enroll in non-nursing programs are required to purchase a package from Castlebranch that includes a National Background Check and the Iowa Adult and Child Protective Services check:
- https://portal.castlebranch.com/IG54. Follow instructions for creating an account and submitting information for background check. Completed student health information (physical, immunizations, etc.) is uploaded by student.
All Health Science students will be required to have a drug screen prior to the clinical experience. The student portfolio (on the CastleBranch website) will contain the drug screen results. Those results will be available to both the student and program administrator.
The process will be as follows
- The student will be provided with information on setting up their account for the CastleBranch portal during the mandatory program orientation
- The student will place an order and pay for the drug screen on the portal.
- The student is responsible for the drug testing fee, which is included in your one time payment when you set up CastleBranch.
- CastleBranch accepts Visa, MasterCard, Discover, debit, electronic check or money order.
- The confirmation of payment will be issued to the student.
- The confirmation form will be printed as proof to the program administrator.
- The program administrator will then issue the Forensic Drug Testing Custody and Control Form.
- You may contact CastleBranch during normal business hours for assistance at 888 723-4263
How should students schedule their drug test?
- Call the Ottumwa Regional Health Center Occupational Health at 641-684-2466 (Open T-Th 6a.m to 6p.m and Friday 10a.m to 2p.m) to set up a drug testing appointment.
- Take the Forensic Drug Testing Custody and Control Form to the appointment at Ottumwa Regional Health Center Laboratory.
- Results will be submitted to the CastleBranch Certified Background database from the lab testing site.
- The student will receive an email to check their account for further information.
Who gets the results?
- The test result will first be reported to the Medical Review Officer (MRO) associated with Castle Branch for review and interpretation.
- The MRO will then report a confirmed positive test result to the student.
- The MRO will attempt to call the student two times from this phone number 800-526-9341. The hours of the follow up phone call will be between 8-5 EST.
- Any questions regarding the results of any drug or alcohol test may be directed to the MRO.
- Negative Test Result: notice will be posted on the CastleBranch student account of passing the initial drug or alcohol test.
- Positive Test Result/Failed Test: The MRO will confirm any proof of the student prescriptions, and make any necessary updates to the positive test result.
- Right to Secondary Confirmatory Test: A student with a confirmed positive test result may ask for a second confirmatory test using ONLY the results from the first test sample from another approved laboratory within seven days of the IHCC mailing of the positive test results to the student.
- The confirmatory test will be conducted on a portion of the sample collected at the same time as the sample that produced the positive test result.
- The student is responsible for the cost of second confirmatory test.
- The sample of collection test will be split in the presence of the individual student to allow for the confirmatory testing of any initial positive test result.
- During the confirmatory process, students may be suspended from the clinical and/or classroom experience.
Confirmed Positive Results
- Students with any confirmed positive results will be withdrawn from the program.
Legal Medication/Drugs Notification
- A student must notify the clinical supervisor or program director whenever they are using a prescription or over-the-counter drug, which may affect safety or work-performance.
- In making this determination, the student is responsible for consulting with their licensed healthcare professional and reviewing any warning on the label to determine if any medication or drug would adversely affect the student’s ability to safely perform essential functions of the clinical or classroom experience.
- If the student is deemed by a Medical Doctor, Doctor of Osteopathy, Physician Assistant or Nurse Practitioner to be safe during the clinical or classroom experience, a “release to attend clinical/classroom document” is required to be signed and kept in the student’s file at IHCC.
- The student who does not fully disclose this information will be subject to possible disciplinary action which may lead to dismissal from the program.
Prescription medications that do not impair performance may be brought to the clinical site and should be taken as prescribed. All prescription drugs must be kept in the pharmacy dispensed container.
Testing due to reasonable suspicion
- Once a student is enrolled in the program, if there is reasonable suspicion of drug or alcohol use, the Program Director will have the right to approve an additional drug or alcohol test at the student’s expense. The clinical site also has the right to request a drug/alcohol test at the student’s expense.
Reasonable suspicion may include, but is not limited to:
- student behavior or conduct including physical manifestations
- evidence that the involved student has caused or contributed to a clinical or classroom related accident
- objective signs that the involved student may have used drugs or alcohol (i.e., slurred speech, staggering gait, odor of alcohol), or reports from others of a clinical “accident”, slurred speech, etc.
When a program director, faculty member or clinical instructor has suspicion of alcohol or drug use during the clinical experience, the following steps will be taken
- Remove student from the patient care area or assigned work area and notify the clinical instructor and the Program Director.
- Consult with another faculty, clinical instructor, or employee for verification of suspicions in a confidential manner.
- Upon verification by a second person, inform the student that they are relieved from duty and that there is a need “for cause” drug/alcohol screening.
- If the student admits to alcohol and/or drug use, the student must undergo urine drug testing
- Pending the resolution of any testing, the student will be suspended from clinical and/or classroom sites
- A student subsequently found to have positive test results will be removed from the program.
- All incidents involving “reasonable suspicion” drug testing in the clinical setting will be handled with strict confidentiality
- Costs for “reasonable suspicion” drug testing are the student’s responsibility.
Transportation of student after reasonable suspicion
- An unimpaired person (such as a family member or friend) or taxi cab must transport the student to nearing testing facility. A release form must be signed by the person transporting the student and provided to the Clinical Supervisor/Program Director. If a taxi is transporting the student, the person observing the student enter the taxi may sign the release form and provide to the Clinical Supervisor/Program Director.
- If the nearest testing facility is at the clinical site, student should be sent for testing and then an unimpaired individual or taxi cab should take the student home. If a taxi is transporting the student, the person observing the student enter the taxi may sign the release form.
- While awaiting transport, the student should not be allowed to leave the supervisor’s presence or ingest any substances.
- If the student insists on driving, either clinic supervisor or Program Director will notify law enforcement.
- Pending the resolution of any testing, the student will be suspended from clinical and field sites.
- A student subsequently found to have positive test results will be removed from the program.
If the student refuses “reasonable suspicion” testing
- Have an unimpaired individual or taxi take the student home
- Document the following in writing:
- Student behavior
- Actions taken
- Written statement of person verifying behaviors
- Student’s response
- Contact the Clinical Supervisor/Program Director as soon as possible and deliver written documentation to the Clinical Supervisor/Program Director within 3 days of the incident.
- Students who refuse reasonable suspicion testing will be removed from the program.
If a facility other than the approved testing site at Ottumwa Regional Health Center performs drug/alcohol testing
- The student is obligated to notify the Program Director of any request by a clinical site for additional testing due to reasonable suspicion.
- If tested by a clinical site, the student shall provide the Program Director with a copy of any test results.
- Failure to promptly notify the Program Director shall be ground for dismissal from the program.
- The student is responsible for any expense incurred with testing.
If a student voluntarily discloses a drug or alcohol problem
- If a student voluntarily discloses that they have an alcohol/drug problem and requests assistance, they are then referred to IHCC Student Health.
- Students may be temporarily suspended from the program and/or clinical experience until such time as they have completed drug/alcohol treatment and are considered safe to return to both the classroom and clinical site by a Medical Doctor, Doctor of Osteopathy, Physician Assistant or Nurse Practitioner.
- Any minor student under the age of 18 must abide by the drug and alcohol testing policy.
- A parent or legal guardian of a student under the age of 18 must sign an acknowledgment of receipt of a copy of this policy.
- Those students who are minors under the age of 18 must obtain notarized parental/legal guardian consent on Section II of the Drug/Alcohol Test Release & Consent For Minors.
- Lack of consent for testing will disqualify the minor from continued clinical participation and participation in the Program.
Providing False Information
- Any student who provides false information when completing paperwork required for a drug test or when responding to required questions for an alcohol or drug screen test will be removed from the Program.
- Any student who dilutes, contaminates, tampers with, alters or interferes in any way with the collection of a specimen for testing purposes will removed from the program.
- The costs of alcohol or drug rehabilitation, treatment and counseling will be the responsibility of the student.
- Costs of drug/alcohol testing are the responsibility of the student
See waivers in Appendices
It is required that each student have a physical examination prior to starting the program to assure that the student is physically able to participate in the activities required of a student in the Occupational Therapy Assistant program. Each student will have a physical performed by a licensed qualified personnel limited to one of the following: physician, physician’s assistant, nurse practitioner. In addition, documentation and/or results of the following immunizations and tests are required: MMR or Rubella Titer; Two – Step Mantoux Skin Test for Tuberculosis; Tetanus/Diphtheria Booster; Hepatitis B, (optional) Varicella, and Flu Shot. Students who do not have a completed physical will not be allowed to participate in the OTA Lab activities or fieldwork experiences. The Indian Hills physical form must be used and can be found on the IHCC website. Health information will be stored in the student portfolio on the CastleBranch website. The CastleBranch portfolio will contain the following categories of health information:
- Physical Exam
- Flu Shot
- Chicken Pox/Varicella
- Hepatitis B
- TB Test
- Covid vaccination may be required by some facilities
Students assigned to a clinical facility that has a COVID vaccination requirement for staff and students, and also allows medical and/or religious exemption requests, may request an exemption if they choose not to receive vaccination.
If the facility has their own internal form that students are allowed to use, students assigned to the facility may submit an exemption request, following the approval process outlined by the facility. For facilities that do not have an exemption request form available to students, but do allow requests, the Iowa Department of Public Health exemption request form will be used.
Requests are submitted to the program director of the student’s program. Program directors will ensure that forms are properly completed, and notarized for religious exemption requests. Forms will be kept on file in the program director’s office, unless requested by the clinical facility.
Properly completed forms will follow these steps:
- Student has used correct form provided by relevant clinical site or is using the IDPH medical form
- COVID vaccination is specifically noted as exempt
- Form is properly filled out
- Form is signed by an MD, DO, PA or NP
- Form/certificate has an expiration date (not to exceed 60 days)
- Form has been submitted to the Program Director in a timely manner
- Student has used the correct form provided by relevant clinical site or is using the IDPH religious exemption form
- Form is appropriately filled out
- Form is notarized
- Form has been submitted to the Program Director in a timely manner
Dependent Adult Abuse/Child Abuse Checks
Faculty and students in the Health Sciences Division are required to complete state approved dependent adult and child abuse mandatory reporter training.
Students in the Health Sciences Division are required to become certified as dependent adult and child abuse reporters. This requirement is met by completing the program for dependent adult and child abuse with information to the following content areas: Iowa law, probable reasons, recognition and reporting process.
students who are assigned to learning experiences in a clinical setting may be required to have a Dependent Adult/child abuse background check. The findings of that report may make a student ineligible for a clinical rotation. Students will assume responsibility for the cost of the background check. Clinical assignments will not be made on the basis of this requirement.
All Health Science faculty are mandatory reporters for both dependent adult and child abuse. As such, they must complete state approved mandatory reporter training for both dependent adult and child abuse every 5 years, as required by Iowa law.
In the event of the onset of a medical condition while enrolled as an OTA student, the student is advised to discuss the physical demands of the field experience (lifting, bending, carrying, standing on one’s feet, etc.) with their physician in order to ensure participation in the field experience will not be of concern during said condition. If a student is unable to perform certain tasks in class or fieldwork, a physician’s note is required to excuse the student from the activity. All students must provide a doctor’s release to return to class and fieldwork experiences when they have recovered from their condition. Examples of conditions causing students to be absent for a period of time may include surgery, extended illness, pregnancy, injury. Students are encouraged to discuss medical conditions with the Program Director.
Bloodborne Pathogens & HIV Policy
Students may be participating in activities within the Health Sciences programs, which have potential for exposure to infectious diseases including but not limited to: Hepatitis B and HIV. Health sciences students must take all necessary precautions to minimize the risk of exposure. Students who fail to comply with the blood borne pathogen and HIV policy may be asked to withdraw from the OTA program.
In the event of a significant exposure (i.e. on occupational incident involving eye, mouth, other mucous membrane, non-intact skill, or parenteral contact with blood or other potentially infectious material, including saliva), the student must report the incident immediately to the instructor or clinical supervisor. The AFWC or Program Director will file a safety/loss report form describing the incident. The completed form will be submitted to the Dean of Health Sciences.
Follow-up evaluation will be required consistent with federal regulations. This may involve going to their personal physician or the emergency room. Students are responsible for the cost of their own medical care.
Hepatitis B Information
It is highly recommended that all students providing direct patient or child care in the Health Sciences Division receive an immunization against Hepatitis B. Although it is not required, it is highly recommended and is considered to be an extremely good investment. Students are particularly vulnerable to contamination and their hand washing skills generally are not yet developed. Although the incidence of the infection is relatively low, the outcome can be fatal. Since there is a vaccine available, all health care providers who are at risk are encouraged to become immunized.
Health care professionals are at an increased risk of contracting Hepatitis B infection. Hepatitis B is usually spread by contact with infected blood or blood products and the risk of acquiring Hepatitis B increases with the frequency of blood contact. Hepatitis B virus may be also found in other body fluids such as: urine, tears, semen, vaginal secretions and breast milk. Hepatitis B infection can have severe consequences, including progressive liver damage and the possibility of developing hepatocellular carcinoma. Six to ten percent of the people who contract the virus become chronic carriers.
Vaccination is the only available means of protection against Hepatitis B. No currently available therapy has proven effective in eliminating the infection. This vaccine, prepared from recombinant yeast cultures, is free of association with human blood or blood products. Full immunization requires three doses of the vaccine over a six month period. Because of the long incubation period for Hepatitis B, it is possible for an unrecognized infection to be present at the time the vaccine is given, and in that case, the vaccine would not prevent the development of clinical hepatitis. You will need your physician’s approval or order prior to being immunized. They will provide you with information regarding the contraindications and side effects of the vaccine. Contact your physician for additional information.
As part of the curriculum, all students in Health Sciences programs will receive instruction regarding Hepatitis B and HIV prior to providing patient care. This instruction shall include be not be limited to:
- Method of transmission
- Standard blood and body fluid precautions
- Types of protective clothing and equipment
- Work practices appropriate to the skills they will perform
- Location of appropriate clothing and equipment
- How to properly use, handle and dispose of contaminated articles
- Action to be taken in the event of spills or personal exposure
- Appropriate confidentiality and reporting requirements
- Review of program policy related to refusal to care for specific patients.
Post Exposure Procedure for Health Sciences Students
If a student has been exposed to a contaminant parenterally (needle stick or cut) or superficially through a mucous membrane (eye or mouth) they are to follow the following procedure:
- Immediately wash the affected area with the appropriate solution (soap & water or alcohol & water)
- Seek appropriate medical attention through their personal physician (students are responsible for their own medical care). This may include baseline testing for HIV antibody at this time, followed by recommended series of testing. (Physicians may also inquire about the students’ status in regard to tetanus and hepatitis immunization at this time
- Follow instructional (agency) policy regarding determining HIV and hepatitis status of patient (students are responsible for the costs to any testing).
- Maintain confidentiality of patient
- Seek appropriate counseling regarding risk of infection.
Guidelines for HIV Positive Health Care Providers
The Center for Disease Control has specific guidelines for health care workers which are revised periodically. They have been incorporated into these policies and are reviewed annually.
- There shall be no routine serological testing or monitoring of students for Hepatitis B or HIV infection.
- Barrier or standard blood and body fluid precautions are to be used routinely for all patients. These include:
- The use of gloves when:
- Cleaning rectal and genital areas
- Carrying soiled linen
- Bathing patients, if the student has a cut on the hand
- Suctioning or irrigating, even if the orifice does not require sterile technique
- There is, at any time, a possibility of spillage of blood or body fluid onto the student’s hands (i.e. accucheck, discontinuing and IV, IM’s, etc.), regardless of the presence of open lesions;
- Emptying urine drainage bags, suction catheters, colostomy and ileostomy pouches
- Providing mouth care
- The use of masks, goggles or glasses and/or aprons when there is a possibility of fluids splashing onto the face or body and clothing.
Specific Guidelines for Known HIV Infected Health Sciences Students
- HIV positive health occupations students who do not perform invasive procedures need not be restricted from work/clinical experiences unless they have other illnesses or signs and symptoms for which such restrictions would be warranted.
- HIV positive health occupations students should wear gloves for direct contact with mucous membrane or non-intact skin of patients.
- HIV positive health occupations students who have exudative lesions or weeping dermatitis should refrain from direct patient care and from handling patient care equipment and utensils.
- Reasonable accommodations will be made within the curriculum to assist the HIV positive student to meet course/program objectives.
- The policy of agencies utilized for clinical experiences will supersede college policy if they are more stringent.
Confidentiality will be maintained whenever possible, with only appropriate individuals being informed of the HIV status of a health sciences student.
Provision of Care
Assignments are made in the clinical setting to enhance and/or reinforce student learning. It is the expectation that students will provide care for clients to whom they are assigned. In the event that a student refuses to care for an individual the following will occur:
- In consultation with the student, the facility member will determine the reason for the refusal.
- If the reason is determined to be valid the student will be reassigned.
- If the reason is determined to be not valid the student will be counseled about unethical conduct and discriminating against a client regarding but not limited to the following: age, race, sex, economic status or illness of the patient or client.
- If it is determined that the reason for refusal to care for a specific individual is as noted above, the student will be counseling to consider their future in health care.
- The Department Chair of Health Sciences shall be notified of any such occurrence and may meet with the student, along with the faculty member to discuss options, one of which may be withdrawal from the program.
The IHCC Grievance and Appeals Procedure provide the format for handling student grievances. The student appeals process is specified in the IHCC College Catalog.
Complaints that occur outside the realm of due process follow the protocol identified in the IHCC Catalog. All attempts to resolve complaints will be first addressed in the Health Sciences Division. For example, complaints from communities of interest (employers, clinical education sites and the public) are first addressed by the appropriate Program Director. If resolution of the situation does not occur after meeting with the complainant, the Program Director will make the individuals aware of the following process:
- If the situation was not resolved after meeting with the Department Chair/Program Director, the complainant will be instructed to submit a written complaint outlining the problem to the Associate Dean within three (3) working days.
- Upon receipt of the complaint, the Associate Dean will schedule a meeting with the individual filing the complaint within three (3) working days and attempt to resolve the issue.
- If the problem is not resolved the complainant will have three (3) working days to request a hearing with the Dean of Career and Technical Education.
- The Dean of Career and Technical Education will hold a hearing within three (3) working days of the request and receive all evidence by listening to the testimony of the student and other relevant witnesses and considering any relevant documents.
- Within two working (2) days the Dean of Career and Technical Education will issue a decision.
Complaints received will be documented and kept in a file in the office of the Program Director/Department Chair, Associate Dean and Dean of Career and Technical Education.