Clinical Skills 5 develops clinical reasoning and critical thinking skills, to prepare students entering clinical placement and osteopathic practice. The unit further develops students' skills in case-history taking, clinical examination, osteopathic manual techniques and management of common conditions presenting in osteopathic practice relating to the abdomen. There is a focus on the development of new skills in High Velocity Low Amplitude (HVLA) techniques for junctional regions and visceral manual osteopathic technique. Students participate in clinical placement observation hours alongside this unit which allows students to observe these skills used in practice by senior osteopathic .students.

Unit details

Study level:
Credit points:
Unit code:


HBS2304 - Clinical Skills 3 and

HBS2404 - Clinical Skills 4 and

HBS2002 - Clinical Skills 4A and

HBO3008 - Biomedical Science for Osteopathy 8

Learning Outcomes

On successful completion of this unit, students will be able to:
  1. Demonstrate an understanding of the history taking process and record key components of a presenting complaint relating to the abdomen;  
  2. Exhibit and interpret a physical examination of the spine, abdomen and selected viscera;  
  3. Identify common and serious abdominal conditions and determine medical tests that may be used to diagnose them; and  
  4. Exhibit osteopathic manual techniques and management strategies for conditions of the spine and visceral complaints.  


The first assessment is a practical skills demonstration of the abdominal examination that is conducted face to face. In Assessment 2 students will utilise their history taking skills identify and record the details of a patient case in the written history taking activity. The quiz in assessment task 3 will evaluate knowledge relating to the presentation of abdominal conditions including pathophysiology, clinical features, medical testing and patient management strategies. The final assessment is a practical skills demonstration of visceral osteopathic technique and HVLA techniques for junctional regions that is conducted face to face.
Assessment type Description Grade
Practicum Abdominal examination (hurdle requirement) (20 mins, in-class) 15%
Exercise History-taking activity (500 words) 15%
Test Quiz - Multiple Choice (90 mins in-class) 30%
Examination Observed Performance in a Simulated Setting (OPSS) (hurdle requirement) (45 mins) 40%
80% attendance is required for 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 OPSS is a hurdle requirement and as such a minimum pass grade for these assessments is required to satisfactorily complete the unit overall.

Required reading

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

RECOMMENDED TEXTS: DeStefano, L. A. (2017) Greenman's principles of manual medicine 5th ed. Philadelphia, PA. : Wolters Kluwer. Bickley, L. S. & Szilagyi, P.G. (2017) Bates' guide to physical examination and history taking 12th ed. Philadelphia, PA. : Wolters Kluwer, There are no set journals for this unit. Students will be provided with an up to date reading list via the VU Collaborate system

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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