Protection of Digital Personal Health Information
The University of Toronto and its affiliated teaching hospitals have written an important document pertaining to the protection of digital personal health information. All students within the Faculty of Medicine must read and uphold the standards and abide by the procedures set forth in this document entitled, “Statement on Protection of Digital Personal Health Information”.
In preparation for fieldwork, all students must complete an online module on protection of personal health information. Students must complete this eLearning tool and get 100% on the quiz at the end of the module. Proof of completion must be provided to the Fieldwork Instructor as instructed during term 1.
Please note important points below:
- Students should never store any confidential data on their own computers or storage devices unless they have been given permission from their preceptor and doing so does not violate privacy and confidentiality laws and organizational policies. This includes any patient/client files and also documentation templates. Documentation templates are the property of the organization and so permission must be obtained in order to save any templates or resources even if they are completely void of any patient information.
- At no point should students be doing documentation at home or on their personal phones or computers. De-identification of personal information is very complex and even if the patient name, diagnosis, and identifier (e.g. hospital/medical record number) have been removed, the date of an assessment and the hospital unit may still be sources of identification.
- If students are on a community placement and are transporting files, they must carefully follow organizational policy and law regarding paper and electronic patient files. The only safe way to transport patient information is for it to be both encrypted and password protected (on laptop or USB key). It is not enough just to password protect electronic patient files when transporting them on community visits. Paper files would have to be locked in a car trunk (never just left in a locked car on the seat) or kept with the student at all times.
- Students are also reminded to never access the electronic or paper file of a client that is not on their caseload.
- Breaches of privacy and confidentiality are grounds for severe academic penalties including possible dismissal from the MScOT program.
Cell Phones and Other Electronic Media
In addition to the above listed guidelines, students must adhere to the following:
- Cell phones must be turned off and stored while participating in fieldwork placement unless instructed otherwise by preceptor. In the case of an emergency, the student should request permission from his/her preceptor and/or clients to use the cell phone. Personal texting, messaging, or calling is not allowed during fieldwork hours unless otherwise instructed by preceptor.
- MP3 players and other personal electronic devices are not to be used during fieldwork placements without approval of the preceptor.
- Hospital computers are to be used for fieldwork purposes only. Personal emails are discouraged during fieldwork time and only with approval of the preceptor. Facebook and any other social networking sites should be used for program purposes only while on fieldwork placements.
- All clinically related information, including information about clients, families, team members, and events that happen on placement are confidential and should not be shared beyond the circle of care. In order to protect and respect clients and our community partners, personal blogging or posting on social media of clinically related information is strictly prohibited.
Students must complete the COTO online module entitled, ‘PAUSE BEFORE YOU POST: Social Media Awareness for Regulated Healthcare Professionals’ for further instruction on social media and professional behavior. Students are also directed to the University of Toronto, Faculty of Medicine ‘Guidelines for Appropriate Use of the Internet, Electronic Networking and Other Media.’
Fieldwork hours are calculated based on a 37.5 hour work week. Students are expected to attend all fieldwork practice hours in the program. CAOT Standards for OT Education state that in order to graduate from an accredited program in Occupational Therapy, each student must successfully complete a minimum of 1000 hours of fieldwork practice. It is expected that students will not ask for shortened work days to accommodate personal needs. All non-emergency doctor/dentist appointments, job commitments, or personal travel plans should be arranged to avoid conflicting with fieldwork placements.
- During any one placement; any student who is absent for more than 20% of placement days will normally be expected to repeat the entire placement.
- A student who is absent for up to three days during a placement period may not be required to make up the day(s) depending on the number of absences from prior placements. A total of three missed fieldwork days (e.g., due to illness or religious holidays) are allowed upon completion of the program. It is up to each student to keep a record of fieldwork days missed and to contact the University Fieldwork Instructor to clarify ability to successfully complete the minimum standard.
- Students requesting time away from placement beyond the 3 allotted sick / personal days, must complete the Request for Special Consideration Form (see Appendix H) and submit it to the University Fieldwork Instructor for approval prior to their absence.
- Absences should be recorded by the preceptor on the first page of the CBFE-OT in the allotted space. Preceptors should also make note of any additional time that the student spent on placement to make up for absences. A record of all absences is also maintained in the Department of Occupational Science and Occupational Therapy Fieldwork Office.
- A student who completes additional hours to the standard 37.5 hours per week while on placement should also keep a record of them on the submitted CBFE or in an attached document.
Student Attendance at Scientific Conferences: Department of OS&OT Policy
The department’s mission is to:
‘Create knowledge of occupation and its enablement, and prepare leaders in practice, research and scholarship to improve the health and well-being of individuals and communities, locally and globally.’
Student research presentation at scientific conferences supports this mission as it is a method of knowledge translation and assists in preparing students as leaders in the profession. In addition, research and its dissemination at conferences develops student competencies in the role of scholarly practitioner.
Year 2 students are encouraged to submit abstracts/paper of their OCT1220Y research project work for poster and podium presentations to relevant conferences. The department may support student presentation at scientific conferences in various ways such as travel awards and bursaries. To be eligible for departmental support of scientific conference attendance, students must follow the procedures below before submitting an abstract or paper.
- At the beginning of the course, OCT1220Y course instructors are responsible for informing students and research supervisors of this policy. This policy should be posted on the OCT1220Y Quercus site and the course outline should make reference to it and where it can be found.
- Students must discuss conference abstract/paper submission with their research supervisor(s) prior to submission if they wish to be eligible for departmental support. It is the research supervisor’s responsibility to advise the students on appropriate abstract/paper submission. The supervisor(s) must also review the abstract/paper and provide advice to the students as required. Where the supervisor is actively involved in the development of the content of the poster or podium presentation, authorship should be established between student and supervision prior to submission of the abstract. Research supervisors may provide additional funding for student conference attendance but are not required to do so. If the conference takes place during academic course work or during fieldwork time, the student must complete a Special Considerations form and attach proof of presentation at the conference. The student must submit these documents to the appropriate course instructor(s) at least six weeks prior to the conference start date. It is the course instructor’s responsibility to review student Special Considerations forms regarding conference attendance and provide a response in a timely fashion. Consideration of approval for conference attendance should include a review of actual amount of time missed from the course, academic standing in the course to date, and upcoming tests, assignments, and exams. The Fieldwork Instructor will consider counting conference days as fieldwork days. Students who have had performance issues on previous fieldwork placements may be advised to make up any missed fieldwork time to optimize opportunity for success on placement.After approval has been granted by research supervisor, academic course instructors (as required), and fieldwork instructors (as required), students will be considered for funding in support of conference attendance.
- After written response and sign-off by the course instructor, the Special Considerations form will be sent to the Student Liaison officer and then reviewed and signed by the Graduate Student Coordinator. As the Special Considerations Forms are submitted, the Student Liaison Officer will track student conference attendance on a spreadsheet. The Graduate Coordinator will have final sign-off on the Special Considerations Form. The Graduate Coordinator and Student Liaison Officer will inform students of available travel funds and bursaries and will oversee the administrative process for selection and administration of these funds. The Student Liaison Officer will keep a record of students attending conferences that have received approval and support from the department.
- After approval by the university fieldwork department, the student must inform his/her preceptor regarding missing fieldwork days to attend the conference. It is expected that students will be professional and respectful when discussing this time away from placement and suggest ways to ensure that their learning and performance will not be adversely affected by their absence. If the student chooses to miss placement for a conference, it is the student’s responsibility to ensure that this absence does not interfere with meeting fieldwork course requirements.
- It is the students’ responsibility to cover all upfront costs related to the conference (e.g. conference registration, travel, accommodations, meals), or to make other arrangements, such as receiving funding from their supervisors or through a travel award/grant.
Student Conference Attendance Without Presentation
If students wish to attend a conference, workshop, or course during fieldwork and are not giving a presentation, they must complete a Request for Special Considerations form (Appendix H) and on that form, describe the conference/course and include the number of fieldwork days that would be missed. Each request will be reviewed by the Fieldwork Course Instructor and will be approved on a case by case basis for the course’s ability to enhance clinical skills, the period of time missed (maximum 3 days), and student’s anticipated performance on placement. If attendance at the course/workshop is approved, a maximum of ½ of missed time will be considered as an education day which does not require to be made up, and the remaining time will be considered to be fieldwork absence(s). If the preceptor for that placement has concerns about the student’s performance and/or attendance at the course/conference/workshop, they may override the approval to attend.
When ill, students should not attend fieldwork placement and are expected to seek appropriate medical care as required. In case of absence from placement due to illness, students must notify their preceptor (and site fieldwork coordinator) on the morning of the absence prior to or at the regular start time. If more than the allowable fieldwork days are missed, the student must contact the University Fieldwork Course Instructor to make arrangements for making up the necessary hours.
Special Considerations/Necessary Accommodations
Students, who have any issue(s) affecting attendance or performance during fieldwork, that may require special considerations, should refer to the MScOT Graduate Student Handbook and/or consult with the OS&OT Director of Clinical Education and/or the Fieldwork Course Instructor. A Special Considerations form must be completed and submitted to the Fieldwork Office in order for accommodations to be made while on fieldwork. See Appendix H for the Request for Special Consideration form.
Students, as members of the health care team, should project a professional image to clients, their families, team members and the general public. This helps clients to relate to the student as a professional-in-training.
Students are expected to comply with the dress code of the facility to which they are assigned with regard to professional image and safety concerns. Specific dress code information is available for each site through the clinical facility information on the Quercus Fieldwork website.
If there is no specific dress code at the facility, business casual is recommended. This is an important issue to clarify in your introductory letter to the facility if it is not clearly outlined in the information that the university has regarding the fieldwork site. In all cases, clothing should be neat, tidy, and free of rips and slogans.
Shirts should be professional with a minimum of a cap sleeve. Transparent fabric, low necklines and bare midriff are not suitable.
Skirts should not compromise safety and should allow for the movement and positioning that may be required in carrying out fieldwork responsibilities.
Footwear must have an enclosed toe and heel for foot protection. It is recommended that shoes have low heels and non-slip soles. Sandals are not appropriate and should not be worn. Bringing a separate pair of indoor shoes may be recommended for placements requiring community visits to client homes.
Hats are not to be worn, with the exception of religious head coverings, or placement activities / travel that take place outdoors
Name tags identifying the student and the university must be worn at all times while on placement. In all cases, as per COTO guidelines, students must be identified as a Student Occupational Therapist. Name tags should be formatted as follows:
Student Occupational Therapist
University of Toronto
In the event that a nametag is misplaced, the student should contact the Fieldwork Administrative Assistant at firstname.lastname@example.org. A fee may be required for the replacement nametag.
Make-up, nail polish, and jewelry should be professional. Nails must be short, not interfering with client care and ensuring compliance with infection control guidelines and procedures. The wearing of any jewelry should also comply with the facility’s infection control policy.