This unit 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

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Credit points:
Unit code:


HBS2404 - Clinical Skills 4

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. Conduct a clinical examination of the cranial nerves.  


Assessment type Description Grade
Test Online Quiz (30min) (equivalent to 500 words) 15%
Test Online Quiz (50min) (equivalent to 1000 words) 25%
Presentation Group presentation based on a case vignette 10%
Practicum Practical assessment of medical examination (15 minutes) and osteopathic technique (15 minutes) (hurdle requirements) 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. The classes in this unit are interactive and develop students' manual and examination skills for work as an osteopath. Students are able to seek feedback from the teachers on meeting the learning outcomes and planning for assessment tasks.

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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