This unit introduces students' to clinical examination, medical tests and osteopathic management and treatment relevant to the conditions affecting the lumbar spine and low back region. With this unit, students continue to develop psychomotor skills in spinal manipulation therapy (SMT). Students develop their psychomotor skills in SMT 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 low back and 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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HBS2304 - Clinical Skills 3

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 the lumbar region;  
  3. Interpret common medical tests that may be used in diagnosis and management of conditions of the spine;  
  4. Exemplify clinical reasoning for analysing common conditions of the spine;  
  5. Exhibit and explain osteopathic manual techniques of the lumbar spine including spinal manipulation therapy (SMT) and relevant safety considerations;  


Assessment type Description Grade
Test Online Quiz (30 mins, equivalent to 500 words) 15%
Test Online Quiz (50 mins, equivalent to 1000 words) 25%
Presentation Group presentation (15mins, 500 words) 10%
Practicum Practical examination (30 mins) (hurdle requirement) (equivalent to 2000 words) 50%
90% attendance is required for practical workshop classes in the osteopathic program (hurdle requirement) as outlined in the AOAC accreditation documentation. The practical workshops in this unit are interactive and develop students manual and examination skills for work as an osteopath. Further, students are able to seek feedback from the teachers on meeting the learning outcomes and planning for assessment tasks. Note: A minimum pass grade (50%) for the practical examination (technique) (hurdle) is required to complete the unit overall.

Required reading

Students will be provided with an up-to-date reading list via the VU Collaborate system.

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.

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