Clinical Skills 6 develops clinical reasoning and critical thinking skills, to prepare students entering clinical placement and osteopathic practice. The unit places emphasis on the contributors and mechanisms of pain and centres this focus on the acute pain presentation. The unit further develops students' skills in case-history taking, clinical examination, osteopathic manual techniques and management of common conditions presenting in osteopathic practice via exposure to a diverse range of simulated case scenarios. There is a focus on the development of new skills in High Velocity Low Amplitude (HVLA) techniques for junctional and peripheral regions. 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:


HBS3504 - Clinical Skills 5 and

HBO3009 - Biomedical Science for Osteopathy 9

Learning Outcomes

On successful completion of this unit, students will be able to:
  1. Elicit a patient and condition-specific clinical history;  
  2. Integrate clinical reasoning with practical skills to justify diagnosis and management of common conditions presenting in osteopathic practice;  
  3. Exhibit osteopathic manual techniques and management strategies for conditions of the spine and peripheral joints; and  
  4. Justify the contributors and mechanisms of pain to patient management.  


In the first assessment students will collaborate in groups to identify and discuss pertinent details of a patient case. This will include the justification of the diagnosis and contributing pain mechanisms. Each group will submit this discussion, using the provided clinical reasoning template. In assessment 3 students will build on these skills individually, using an extended version of the template to critique a patient case and justify the diagnosis and management strategies that are appropriate. Assessment task 2 will require professional communication and history taking skills to elicit a patient specific clinical history. Student will also submit a short reflection on their performance. The final assessment is a practical skills demonstration that is conducted face to face.
Assessment type Description Grade
Exercise Clinical reasoning group task (500 words) 10%
Other History taking reflection task (600 words) 20%
Case Study Individual written case study report (1000 words) 30%
Examination Observed Performance in a Simulated Setting (OPSS) (hurdle requirement) (45mins) 40%
80% attendance is required for classes in the osteopathic program (hurdle requirement) as outlined in the AOAC accreditation documentation. The Observed Performance in a Simulated Setting (OPSS) is a hurdle requirement and as such a minimum pass grade for this assessment 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 Bickley, L.S. & Szilagyi, P.G. (2017) Bates' guide to physical examination and history taking 12th ed. Philadelphia: Wolters Kluwer. Brukner, P., & Khan, K. (2016) Brukner and Khan's Clinical Sports Medicine 5th ed. Vol 1. Sydney, Australia: McGraw Hill DeStefano, L. A. (2017) Greenman's principles of manual medicine 5th ed. Philadelphia: Wolters Kluwer.

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.

VU takes care to ensure the accuracy of this unit information, but reserves the right to change or withdraw courses offered at any time. Please check that unit information is current with the Student Contact Centre.