This unit introduces students' to clinical examination, medical tests  and osteopathic management and treatment techniques relevant to the conditions affecting the thorax. With this unit, students are provided with the first opportunity to develop psychomotor skills in spinal manipulation therapy (SMT). Students will be able to commence developing 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 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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Unit code:


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 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. Demonstrate and explain osteopathic manual techniques of the thorax including spinal manipulation therapy (SMT) and relevant safety considerations;  
  6. Report on their observation of a clinical consultation.  


The formative assessments for this unit are: - Online quizzes (safety considerations of manipulation) (weeks 3 & 4) (hurdle requirement) - In-class peer examination (history taking, examination and treatment simulation) (weeks 5 & 12) - Contribution to CBL group (weekly)
Assessment type Description Grade
Examination Written paper (30 minutes) (equivalent to 500 words) 15%
Project Video of history taking with reflective journal (10 minutes) (equivalent to 1,500 words) 35%
Examination Practical examination of technique (20 minutes) and examination (20 minutes) (equivalent to 2,000 words) (hurdle requirement) 50%
Journal Written reflection after observation of clinical environment (500 words) (hurdle requirement) 0%
90% attendance is required at tutorials, CBL and practical workshop classes in the osteopathic program (hurdle requirement). 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) and satisfactory completion of the two online quizzes (safety considerations of manipulation), including submission of the observation journal is required to complete the unit overall as the assessment tasks are reflective of the nature of osteopathic practice.

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.

Bates' guide to physical examination and history taking. 11th ed.
Bickley, L. S. (2012)
Philadelphia, US: Lippincott Williams & Wilkins.

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