Date of Award


Document Type

Scholarly Project

Degree Name

Master of Occupational Therapy (MOT)


Occupational Therapy

First Advisor

Anne M. Haskins


Adolescent; Education, Distance; Occupational Therapy -- education; Opioid-Related Disorders -- therapy; Rural Population


Occupational therapists working in rural areas face a number of barriers when trying to access continuing education courses, which are required to maintain licensure. Some of the largest barriers these practitioners face include: time, cost of the courses, and ease of access. Continuing education often requires travelling, time out of one’s day, and a fee ranging from $25-$300 (North Dakota Occupational Therapy Association [NDOTA], 2016; Continuing education, 2013). The purpose of this scholarly project is to address continuing education requirement-related needs and education access for occupational therapists working in rural areas. Following the completion of a comprehensive literature review and identification of a topic area for the continuing education course, materials and resources were gathered for the content of a presentation. Following approval of a final outline for an educational course, the online product was created utilizing Adobe Presenter.

An open-access, online continuing education course was developed and centered around a currently trending population in the U.S., adolescents experiencing addiction to opioids. A PowerPoint was created to present an overview of opioids, the person factors of a client, the various environments often impacted by addiction, and the occupations that are most commonly altered as a result of opioid addiction. In addition, numerous assessments, interventions, and resources for parents and clients were presented. The information presented for this course is centered around the occupational therapy theory of Person-Environment-Occupation. This model focuses on the individual factors of person, environment, and occupation, as well as, the interactions between each of them (Cole & Tufano, 2008; Turpin & Iwama, 2013). A case study was incorporated throughout the PowerPoint to allow the opportunity for therapists the apply the knowledge gained during the course. The final recording of the course as well as a concluding quiz, will be housed on the University of North Dakota’s Occupational Therapy Program website and free for the public to access for continuing education credit.

We anticipate that the online education session entitled “Occupational Therapy’s Role in Opioid Addiction” will provide valuable information for occupational therapists, specifically in rural areas. In addition to providing a no-cost and easily accessible continuing education opportunity, we anticipate that occupational therapists will find the ability to access this continuing education useful for their practice knowledge and contributing to continuing hours needed for state licensure.

Rural occupational therapists face the barriers of access and cost when trying to obtain continuing education credits. The number of teens abusing opioids is also rising, both in the state of North Dakota and across the nation. To address these problems, we created an open-access, online continuing education course to aid in education of therapists working with these individuals. This course is unique as there are little to no continuing education courses available regarding this population.