This unit (HBS2002) introduces students to clinical examination, medical tests and osteopathic management and treatment techniques relevant to the conditions affecting the thorax and cranial nerves. With this unit, students will further develop psychomotor skills in high-velocity low-amplitude (HVLA) spinal manipulation. Students will be able to develop their psychomotor skills in HVLA on peers under close guidance from educators. Students will build on previous knowledge on history taking skills and will learn how to develop focussed questions for a specific complaint. Clinical reasoning continues to be developed in this unit with a focus on patient presentations affecting the thorax, however there is an expectation students are now able to integrate information from a patient history, clinical examination and medical tests to justify their differential diagnoses relating to a presenting complaint.

Unit details

Study level:
Credit points:
Unit code:


HBS1104 - Clinical Skills 1 and

HBO2007 - Biomedical Science for Osteopathy 7

Learning Outcomes

On successful completion of this unit, students will be able to:
  1. Relate the principles of advanced history taking to the recording of details for the presenting complaint  
  2. Exhibit and interpret a clinical examination of systemic health (vital signs) and systems of the thorax (cardiovascular, respiratory, vascular, musculoskeletal);  
  3. Interpret common medical tests that may be used in diagnosis and management of conditions of the thorax  
  4. Exemplify clinical reasoning for analysing common conditions of the thorax  
  5. Exhibit and explain osteopathic manual techniques of the thorax  
  6. Demonstrate and interpret a clinical examination of the cranial nerves.  


The online tests will assess fundamental knowledge in history taking, clinical examination and medical tests relevant to conditions of the thorax. The first test provides summative and formative feedback and the second test assesses the knowledge of these clinical topics developed over the first two weeks. Students then apply this knowledge in a case presentation in week 3 and in week 4 their clinical reasoning, clinical medical examination, and osteopathic treatment skills are assessed in the OPSS.
Assessment type Description Grade
Test Online Quiz (30min) 15%
Test Online Quiz (50min) 25%
Presentation Group presentation based on a case vignette (15mins) 10%
Practicum Observed Performance in a Simulated Setting (OPSS) (30 minutes) (hurdle) 50%
80% attendance is required for Clinical Skills classes, tutorials and workshops, which develop knowledge, competency and safety in practical clinical assessment and treatment skills. These requirements align with the VU Osteopathic Course documentation to AOAC.

Required reading

Manipulation of the spine, thorax and pelvis: An osteopathic perspective. 4th Ed
Gibbons, P., & Tehan, P. (2016)
Australia: Elsevier.

RECOMMENDED TEXTS: Bickley, L. S. (2017) Bates' guide to physical examination and history taking. 12th ed. Philadelphia, US: Lippincott Williams & Wilkins. Destefano, L (2017) Greenmans Principles of Manual Medicine 5th ed. Philadelphia, US: Lippincott Williams Wilkins. Magee, D (2014) Orthopedic Physical Assessment. 6th ed. St Louis, US: Elsevier.

Where to next?

As part of a course

This unit is studied as part of the following courses. Refer to the course page for information on how to apply for the course.

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