Expert Clinician – Occupational Therapist Position Description

Fundamental job duties, responsibilities and essential functions for the Occupational Therapist – Expert Clinician level include:

1. Clinical Decision Making

Evaluates and re-evaluates patient/clients using high-level knowledge of the principles and methods of patient/client assessment and on-going reassessment to develop and modify effective assessments and treatment plans. Able to make a comprehensive assessment of patient needs that span across the continuum of care. Demonstrates leadership and is viewed and utilized by peers as the primary resource in area(s) of expertise in clinical decision making. Actively mentors staff throughout all components of clinical decision making.

  • Assessments and re-assessments are patient-specific and consider alternative hypotheses to specific clinical questions
  • Demonstrates high-level proficiency in data gathering skills efficiently and selectively. Uses relevant sources of information with a strong emphasis on information obtained from patient/client/family.
  • Exceptional critical analytical skills are applied to all aspects of clinical decision making
  • Consistently incorporates relevant data in clinical decision making
  • Intuitively uses available resources, including patient outcomes and past experiences, to guide patient/client assessment
  • Using multiple sources, comprehensively assesses patient/client factors that impact treatment plan and outcome
  • Selects appropriate assessment tests and measures to conduct patient/client assessment and re-assessment. Demonstrates a superior understanding of the relationship between functional performance on specific tests/measures and underlying impairments in body structure/function.
  • Proficiently uses standardized assessment tools that address function and disablement by measuring relevant information that impacts patients/clients. Modifies tests and measures based on patient/client needs.
  • Consistently recognizes signs and symptoms of medical problems that require further medical evaluation and facilitates follow-up
  • Comfortably and effectively evaluates complex patients with problems in multiple body systems and develops a comprehensive, patient-centered plan for managing multiple therapy needs.
  • From the start of care, anticipates and prioritizes the key underlying impairments that result in physical, behavioral and/or cognitive dysfunction that are typical of specific patient populations. Understands the complex relationship between underlying impairments and demonstrates expert knowledge and decision making in complex situations.
  • Establishes a therapy classification or therapy diagnosis that is specific to the patient/client. Intuitively and accurately classifies patients based on impaired body/structure, activity limitations and participation restrictions, as well as therapy practice patterns.
  • Makes accurate predictions about patient/client outcomes across the continuum of care. Recognizes and addresses factors that may promote further recovery or future decline in function.
  • With input from the patient/client and/or the patient/client’s family, establishes patient-centered goals that reflect anticipated outcomes. Therapy goals address the complex relationships between body structure/function, activity and participation, as well as show greater emphasis on personal and environmental factors that influence long-term functional recovery.
  • Based on assessment and on-going reassessment, selects and modifies appropriate interventions with an emphasis on patient/client education. Makes selective use of inter-disciplinary collegial knowledge, particularly in challenging clinical situations by incorporating highly individualized, patient centered interventions that target key concerns/goals of the patient/client. Interventions are modified continuously and effortlessly within and between patient/client visits.
  • Anticipates future patient outcomes in terms of future disablement or enablement for across patient populations through high-level integration of relevant clinical data
  • Demonstrates leadership and is viewed and utilized by peers as the primary resource in area(s) of expertise in clinical decision making
  • Demonstrates understanding of the value of patient empowerment and self-efficacy and plays a primary role as a coach, guide or facilitator. Emphasizes creative, collaborative problem solving with patients/clients to implement effective strategies for self-management.
  • In adherence to the profession’s Code of Ethics, uses ethical reasoning to make decisions based on objective principles and values. Identifies and examines ethical dilemmas using clinical reasoning to guide decision and actions. Serves as a resource to others when ethical dilemmas exist.
  • Takes a leadership role by taking accountability and responsibility for the care needs of all patients in their team, discipline, department and across the organization. Seeks alternate strategies and/or other resources to make sure patient/client needs are met.

2. Performance Skills

Provides interventions across a broad range of needs with increased selectivity to patients/clients that are safe, timely, effective, efficient, patient-centered and equitable, in compliance with organizational policies and procedures. Demonstrates leadership and is viewed and utilized by peers as the primary resource in area(s) expertise in regards to performance skills. Actively mentors others in regards to selection and performance of therapeutic interventions.

  • Maintains competency within area(s) of expertise. Demonstrates competency in treatment skills by completing institutional and program-specific competencies and consistently meets annual requirements. Assesses peers for basic and advanced competency skills.
  • Practices competently in accordance with professional practice standards and expectations
  • Employs highly refined visual, tactile and auditory skills to aid with patient/client assessment/reassessment and intervention
  • Provides highly selective therapeutic interventions
  • Progresses treatment interventions timely, selectively and effectively
  • Interventions take into account behavioral, cognitive and perceptual dysfunction and appropriate referrals to specialists are made, if needed
  • In accordance with patient/client need, selects treatment with consideration of resource utilization, including space, time, people and equipment
  • Anticipates patient/client learning needs and is prepared for session. Identifies and provides appropriate strategies to educate patients so that environmental constraints, learning barriers, and cultural factors are addressed effectively. Assesses effectiveness of teaching and considers emotional impact of condition on learning.
  • Actively engages the patient to take responsibility to ensure that needs are adequately addressed
  • Delegates treatment to appropriate clinical staff and provides necessary supervision. Maximizes efficiency in patient outcomes by use of appropriate support personnel.
  • Demonstrates leadership and is viewed and utilized by peers as the primary resource in area(s) expertise in regards to performance skills. Actively mentors others in regards to selection and performance of therapeutic interventions.

3. Interpersonal Abilities

Demonstrates respectful interactions with patients/clients, colleagues and others. Leads by example when interacting with others and mentors others on interpersonal skills.

  • Actively and independently advocates on behalf of patients to appropriate individuals and is aware of common patient needs for similar patient populations
  • Anticipates and understands multiple cultural values and incorporates these values in developing rapport and treatment plan to maximize patient outcomes
  • Establishes and maintains rapport with patients by respecting others’ values and adapting interactions to build trust
  • Works cooperatively with co-workers demonstrating respect, trust and support
  • Initiates team approach to patient care as indicated and mediates patient goals among team members. Mediates conflict effectively with others.
  • Actively mentors others in collaboration
  • Has achieved credibility within the health care team; expertise is sought by team members in planning patient care
  • Consults with or refers to other colleagues/disciplines to meet patient/client needs.
  • Incorporates critical feedback from supervisor and colleagues and works towards improving areas of weakness.

4. Professional Behaviors

Acts professionally to all individuals. Takes an active role in organizational initiatives to improve patient care, practice and institutional performance.

  • Actively identifies problems related to systems issues and works diligently to develop potential solutions to these problems as part of their professional practice. Actively provides feedback.
  • Actively identifies challenges and actionable solutions that impact clinical practice
  • Actively participates on committees or task forces that focus on improving patient care, practice, and/or institutional performance
  • Written communication is timely, succinct, clear and meets all regulatory and hospital standards. Documentation anticipates the needs of the reader.
  • Practices in ways that ensure patient care and administrative tasks are performed timely while remaining flexible with changes in schedule. Takes on other responsibilities and incorporates into day
  • Able to prioritize and triage to maximize effectiveness and efficiency. At a high level, adapts to the factors that influence time management.
  • Meets and/or exceeds productivity expectations
  • Advocates for the profession internally and externally to UW Health. Advances the profession through professional activities within and/or outside the institution.
  • Identifies when communication is necessary and directs communication at the right time in the right place to the right person using an appropriate medium. Therapist anticipates the need to change verbal communication style depending on situational needs. Communication reflects comfort, skill and a full grasp of the content in all situations.
  • Verbal and non-verbal communication is respectful, empathetic and appropriate to individuals and groups
  • Is accountable and takes responsibility for identifying trends in practice gaps and actively pursues opportunities (i.e. through continuing education, mentorship, etc.) to improve practice. Independently seeks resources to improve knowledge base and skill level.
  • Respects others’ values

5. Administration/Education/Outreach/Research

Actively participates in at least two activities that extend beyond patient care, including administration, education, outreach, and research as defined in the Practice Model Continuum (pdf) for the Advanced Clinician across all themes and sub-themes.

  • Evidence drawn from the literature is actively pursued to support clinical practice. Incorporates research findings into clinical practice.
  • Demonstrates a commitment to continued learning by attending continuing education, reviewing the literature, and independently seeking other resources
  • In addition to annual requirements, makes presentations and/or educates groups outside of direct patient care responsibilities
  • As opportunities exist, actively participates in student clinical education often times as a clinical instructor or as an educator in clinical residencies
  • Critically appraises journal articles or other sources of evidence
  • Mentors others, especially in area(s) of expertise
  • Leads and actively participates in at least two activities that extend beyond patient care, including administration, education, outreach and research as defined in the Practice Model Continuum (pdf) for the Expert Clinician across all themes and sub-themes.