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Occupational Therapy Discipline Celebrates Record Number of Master’s Graduates

May 26, 2017

Eight students in the Discipline of Occupational Therapy at UKZN have received their master’s degrees – this is the highest ever number of master’s graduates in the Discipline in a single year.

And to add to that significant achievement, nearly all of them completed their studies within the minimum period of a year.

The graduates are clinicians working in both the public and private sectors.

They are Ms Kesree Sagadavan, Ms Dominique de Klerk, Ms Jacqueline Boyd, Ms Lenise Clothier, Ms Kreshnee Govender, Ms Claire-Lynn Moller, Ms Jessica Taylor and Ms Ginette Potgieter.

This increase in postgraduate throughputs is in response to and aligned with UKZN’s strategic imperative to become the leading research-led university in South Africa. Members of the Discipline conducted road shows to recruit potential candidates and adopted a pilot cohort model with other disciplines in the School of Health Sciences and it proved to be successful. Traditionally, the Discipline has a low number of postgraduate students due to a lack of incentives in obtaining postgraduate qualifications for clinicians.

Sagadavan, de Klerk, Boyd and Clothier completed their studies in the field of paediatrics, covering issues around the multidisciplinary team management of HIV encephalopathies; the management of children with cerebral palsy accessing public healthcare; appreciating the occupational performance and challenges of a child with autism spectrum disorder in a rural context, and in determining management of children diagnosed with learning disabilities presenting to the public health system.

Govender and Moller completed studies in the field of vocational rehabilitation covering the experience of patients who sustained a traumatic brain injury in returning to work and the role of the occupational therapist in case management in the insurance industry. Taylor and Potgieter completed studies in the field of mental health, ie the experience of acquired brain injury survivors living with mood symptoms and perceptions of clinical staff towards psychosocial rehabilitation towards development of guidelines for an acute mental healthcare facility.

The commitment and dedication of staff members, most of whom are still credentialing and carrying a large undergraduate workload, were commended.

The Discipline is confident that the collaboration across disciplines will continue towards collective growth within the School of Health Sciences. This bodes well for the overall development and success of the Discipline in contributing to knowledge production in the field of occupational therapy and related fields.

Pragashnie Govender

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