Course Title: Osteopathy Principles and Clinical Practice 3

Part A: Course Overview

Course Title: Osteopathy Principles and Clinical Practice 3

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,
Sem 1 2013

Course Coordinator: Dr Sharyn Burke

Course Coordinator Phone: +61 3 9925 6647

Course Coordinator Email:

Pre-requisite Courses and Assumed Knowledge and Capabilities


  • Osteopathy Theory and Practice 3 & 4
  • Osteopathy Principles and Clinical Practice 1 & 2
  • Neuroscience
or equivalent capabilities


  • Osteopathy Theory and Practice 5

Course Description

This course consists of modules that expand upon the osteopathic diagnostic principles developed in years one and two and introduces a clinical reasoning process to allow the student to compose a differential diagnosis using a case-based approach. Students are prepared for their clinical entrance exam and their first opportunities to take on the role of the treating student responsible for patient care. Students spend time in the clinic as active observers.  In addition to rostered hours in the teaching clinic, the course consists of the following modules:

  • Clinical Presentations (Axial)
  • Clinical Observations

Objectives/Learning Outcomes/Capability Development

  • Diagnose the patient’s clinical presentation
  • Adopt appropriate behaviours in dealing with patient’s concerns, including socially and ethnically sensitive communications skills and empathy.
  • Engage personally with a body of knowledge by ongoing learning, reflection and analysis.
  • Work and learn independently or as part of a team.
  • The ability to make sound judgments and to show due duty of care to patients. 
  • Apply management strategies in order to produce positive outcomes for patients.
  • Information literate, locating, evaluating, managing and using a range of information.
  • Have a basis for understanding the scientific literature in manual medicine and related fields and the ability to put this understanding to effective use.
  • Give the practitioner the capacity to know when to refer the patient for other medical intervention.
  • Adopt appropriate behaviours in dealing with patient’s concerns, including socially and ethnically sensitive communications skills and empathy. Using written, visual and oral communication skills. 
  • To exhibit the capacity to engage in ethical clinical practice.

At the conclusion of this course you will be expected to be:

  • Fluent with the model used for clinical diagnostic decision making in the osteopathic program, having analysed the steps involved in tutorial exercises
  • Able to identify and understand the different methods of inquiry used to formulate a differential diagnosis from a clinical presentation
  • Understand and relate the presenting symptomatology to the local tissue pathology and site of origin
  • Identify common neuromusculoskeletal presentations in the axial skeleton according to their clinical presentation
  • Formulate a thorough and reasonable list of differential diagnoses for a focal symptomatic presentation
  • Able to rationally develop differential diagnoses for musculoskeletal presenting complaints of the axial skeleton
  • Able to apply physical examination, neurological examination and orthopaedic examination techniques effectively and appropriately
  • Able to apply physical examination procedures for the systems of the body, including abdominal examination and ear, eyes, nose and throat examination
  • Competent in performing orthopaedic tests for each joint and region of the human body
  • Able to demonstrate knowledge of the physiological and anatomical reason for orthopedic test procedures
  • Able to interpret the result of orthopaedic testing and use the information gained to give evidence to the proposed working diagnosis of patient presenting complaints
  • Able to fully evaluate each region of the body using physical examination, neurological testing and orthopaedic examination
  • Have a thorough grasp of musculoskeletal pathologies and their physical signs and symptoms
  • Identify regions of the body which require more detailed orthopaedic examination and the use of these tests to assist in formulating a working diagnosis

Overview of Learning Activities

Observation in the RMIT Osteopathic Teaching Clinic

Lectures, class presentations, tutorials

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.

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”
Special Requirements
Students are required to attend their rostered shifts and complete the clinic manual and assignments to receive a pass in the course. Particular attention is given to reports made regarding the students by the clinician.

Ongoing assessment of students by supervising clinicians is a significant component of this course. Students should be aware that they are being assessed on their professional conduct, which includes their punctuality for rostered shifts and their professional appearance and behaviour. Demerit points will be given for infractions at the supervisors discretion. .

In addition students are encouraged to undertake RMIT University approved activities will such as external / community events; external private practice observation; participation in extra curricular clinical, promotional and professional activities such as community events, RMIT SOMA & AOA related activities. 

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.