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Date of Award


Document Type

Oral Presentation/Poster

Degree Name

Doctor of Occupational Therapy (OTD)

Faculty Mentor

Dr. Alison Naber


occupational therapy, oncology care, cancer treatment, holistic

Subject Categories

Occupational Therapy


The primary focus of the Capstone experience was to gain advanced clinical practice in oncology care. Specifically, the purpose was to obtain knowledge and clinical reasoning skills, acquire insight and experience regarding occupational therapy’s role in the oncology setting, and demonstrate competency in clinical care for children and adults undergoing cancer treatment. Cancer and its associated symptoms may markedly impact individuals’ occupational functioning and quality of life, presenting a need for occupational therapy services. However, a lack of understanding and limited literature has led to the underutilization of occupational therapy services for patients with cancer. Despite being under-recognized, occupational therapists play a key role in cancer treatment, as practitioners possess the expertise and knowledge to provide holistic care. The Capstone was created to enhance the understanding of utilizing occupational therapy and the means of occupation to assist in improving individuals’ lives, physically, cognitively, and psychologically. This experience took place over a fourteen-week timespan and involved oncology care with children and adults in both inpatient and outpatient settings at Sanford Children’s Hospital and Sanford USD Medical Center and Hospital in Sioux Falls, South Dakota. The Capstone student demonstrated mastery in patient care and various learning activities and deliverables. Along with completing direct patient care with pediatric and adult oncology patients, the student collaborated with members of the interprofessional cancer care team. Continuing education was completed to further the student’s knowledge and understanding of occupational therapy’s approach for patients with cancer. An American Occupational Therapy Fact Sheet and brochure were created to emphasize the important role of occupational therapy in the oncology setting. In demonstrating an understanding of occupational therapy’s role in oncology, as well as providing information to other entry-level occupational therapists working in this emerging area of practice, the Capstone student created the Oncology Guidebook for the Occupational Therapy Practitioner. This comprehensive guidebook focuses on various components of occupational therapy in oncology care. By successfully accomplishing the learning objectives and deliverables, the student is fully equipped to advance beyond that of an entry-level occupational therapist in the oncology setting.