In Korea, the first national occupational therapy licensing examination was administered by the National Institute of Health in 1965 since it was introduced in the early 1950’s. Although it has been a half century from its beginning, the actual commencement of occupational therapy in Korean society was not until 1993 when the Korean Association of Occupational Therapists (KAOT) was founded. It became a full member of WFOT (World Federation of Occupational Therapists) in 1998. The conventional educational program began in 1979 at Yonsei University. Within the last four years, twenty-three new occupational therapy programs have launched nationwide, and there are total of twenty-four occupational therapy programs as of December 2002. From year 2006, nine hundred new graduates are expected to be licensed every year. The KAOT is working on five projects to achieve a qualitative growth of the occupational therapy profession.
This action learning project aimed at exploring the feasibility, values and limitations of implementing problem-based learning (PBL) with Hong Kong occupational therapy (OT) students. The PBL methodology was implemented in a year-one subject in the undergraduate occupational therapy curriculum, entitled ‘Sensation and Perception’. During a 14-week period, 90 OT students, working in small teams of 6, studied three PBL cases. Both quantitative and qualitative methods were used to examine the effects of this PBL implementation. The Inventory of Learning Preferences (ILP) and Study Process Questionnaire (SPQ) gauged the change in the students’ learning approach before and after PBL implementation. Focus group interviews and non-graded reflective journals were used to examine students’ perceptions of the PBL experience. Although their learning approaches and preferences did not differ significantly after the PBL experience, the majority of students (84%) favored this learning method. The qualitative data indicated that the students developed basic study skills such as the ability to brainstorm and perform a literature search, and the experience of which they valued. The major challenges identified were the heavy workload, insufficient learning resources to support the new learning experience, and poor transfer of the acquired study skills to other learning situations. It is recommended that the PBL methodology be refined based on the opportunities and challenges identified, and that its application be extended to other subjects in the teaching curriculum.
Eight cases that had a reconstructive thumb operation (RTO) and were able to return to work were presented. In the present study, the functions of RT, the influence of the thumb on return to work, and how the recovered hands were used at work were investigated. The reconstructed thumb was evaluated based on the following 6 functions: “aspects of full return to work” (3 items), “thumb motion” (5 items), “sensibility” (3 items), “wrist range of motion (ROM)” (4 items), “strength” (3 items) and “dexterity” (3 items). Subsequently, the relation between the frequency of hand use based on subjective evaluation and each function was investigated. We observed significant correlations of the frequency of hand use with thumb opposition, thumb angle, pinch strength, 2-point discrimination (2PD), and the result of the Moberg picking up test (p<0.05). It was thought that the improvement of pinch strength and dexterity of the thumb as well as that of sensory function was the factor to increase the frequency of hand use based on subjective evaluation, and the active hand therapy was necessary even before the operation.