Course Title: Osteopathy Principles and Clinical Practice 1

Part A: Course Overview

Course Title: Osteopathy Principles and Clinical Practice 1

Credit Points: 12.00

Course Code




Learning Mode

Teaching Period(s)


Bundoora Campus


150H Health Sciences


Sem 1 2006,
Sem 1 2007,
Sem 1 2008,
Sem 1 2009,
Sem 1 2010,
Sem 1 2011,
Sem 1 2012

Course Coordinator: Anna Massingham

Course Coordinator Phone: +61 3 9925 7647

Course Coordinator Email:

Course Coordinator Location: 202.4.67

Pre-requisite Courses and Assumed Knowledge and Capabilities


  • Osteopathy Theory and Practice 1 & 2
  • Osteopathic Mechanics and Principles


  • Osteopathy Theory and Practice 3

Course Description

This course consists of modules that expand upon osteopathic philosophy, theory, practice and mechanics introduced in year one and introduces diagnostic modalities that prepare the students for their entrance into clinical practice in year three.

Models of Osteopathy

Models of the body are introduced that provide a conceptual framework for diagnosis and treatment planning and the beneficial physiological effects obtained through appropriate and rational osteopathic care.

Physical examination

Students learn how to effectively examine the systems and organs of the body. 

Clinic procedures

Students spend time in the clinic as active observers. Occupational Health and Safety regulations and Privacy laws are studied and students learn how the clinic complies with those regulations. Students are introduced to the procedures used in the clinic to ensure the proper management of patients and to enhance the student learning experience.

Objectives/Learning Outcomes/Capability Development

Level one capabilities

FC1: diagnose the patients clinical presentation

KC2: information, locating,critically evaluating, managing and using a range of information

PC1: adopt appropriate behaviours in dealing with patients’ concerns, including socially and ethnically sensitive communication skills and empathy

VC1: engage in ethical clinical practice

At the conclusion of this course students should be expected to:

  • Describe the procedures undertaken by all students in the clinic for a new patient.
  • Describe the procedures undertaken by all students in the clinic for a return patient.
  • Describe the procedures required to refer a patient.
  • Describe the procedures required to make an X-ray referral.
  • Describe the procedures required to book in a patient.
  • Describe the procedures required for maintaining the clinic environment.
  • Describe the systems in place in the clinic to prevent cross-infection.
  • Describe the filing system and filing procedures.
  • Communicate competently and professionally with the general public.
  • Describe the physiological basis of the five models used for treatment of the human body; the structural-postural model, the respiratory circulatory model, the neurological model, the energy spending model and the psychological model
  • Describe the neuro-endocrine connections of the body and the whole body response to somatic dysfunction
  • Plan treatment based upon the above models
  • perform physical examination for the systems of the body, including cardiovascular, respiratory, gastrointestinal, urinary, reproductive and endocrine, effectively and appropriately
  • perform eye, ear, nose and throat examination effectively and appropriately
  • perform orthopaedic examination techniques for all regions of the musculoskeletal system effectively and appropriately 
  • demonstrate knowledge of the physiological and anatomical reason for physical examination and orthopedic test procedures

Overview of Learning Activities

The planned student learning experiences in this course, in addition to providing discipline specific knowledge, introduce the student to the clinical environment. In the osteopathy modules, the knowledge gained in the other courses becomes applied to the living human organism and studied in states of health and disease. Theoretical material covered is broad and students are expected to utilise the learning experiences and knowledge attained in other courses and read widely and in greater depth on the topics covered. Engagement with the vast body of knowledge in the clinical sciences and osteopathy develops the student’s abilities to locate, evaluate and manage a range of information.

Overview of Learning Resources

Recommended texts: (These are useful texts which support and complement the core material).
Copies of recommended texts will be placed on reserve in the Bundoora campus library for the period during which they are likely to be in high demand. Students wanting other references to be placed on reserve should consult the relevant lecturer.

Overview of Assessment

The Discipline of Osteopathy has special requirements regarding assessment.

Attendance Requirements:
In order to prevent potential injury to participants in practical examinations students must attend 90% of all osteopathic technique practical classes. Students who attend less than 90% of classes will be required to do make up work as directed by the supervising lecturer. Students who attend less than 70% of classes may not be eligible to sit practical examinations. Students who have an injury that prevents them from participating in practical classes, e.g. a broken arm, must attend classes and observe

Requirement to pass both practical and theory components:
In osteopathy courses with technique modules, students are examined for both their theoretical understanding and for their development of competence in osteopathic technique. Students must obtain a passing grade in all practical modules as well as the theoretical component of this course

Requirements regarding written assessment:
Students are requested to take particular note of the completion dates for assignments, as penalties for late submission will apply. Extensions may be available at the discretion of the lecturer concerned and dependent upon the circumstances of the request.
All assignments must be handed in with a completed “Cover Sheet for Submission of Individual or Group Assignments” 

Grades of High Distinction -HD, Distinction -DI, Credit -CR, Pass -PA and Fail -NN will be awarded in accordance with RMIT procedures.
Note: Students must obtain a passing grade in each assessment component of each module of the course.

Procedure for making variations to assessment tasks described
The assessment schedule below may be varied by the individual course modules guides made available to students by week 1 of semester. Any further variations will be negotiated with the enrolled students. The relative weighting of modules will remain unchanged.