Home' OsteoLife : OsteoLife Autumn 2015 Contents www.osteopathy.org.au
Osteopathy Australia 11
WiSe WordS For neW oSteopathS
Sydney-based Jennifer Paull has been an osteopath for
26 years. When she started there were only a handful of
osteopaths in Australia. Now there are more than 2000.
Q What are the biggest changes you’ve
seen in the osteopathic industry?
There are three areas of note: education; regulation; and
recognition. Education has changed from private colleges to
universities and continuing professional development is now
mandatory. Regulation has evolved from a state-based board
to national regulation. Finally, recognition of osteopaths has
increased through the community, at an inter-professional
level and at government level.
Q What are the top five skills osteopaths
need in order to excel in the industry?
1 Exceptional diagnostic skills, incorporating osteopathic
reasoning skills, highly developed critical thinking
skills, a current and substantial scientific knowledge
base, and the ability to think laterally and beyond
the categories of illness.
2 A strong palpatory skillset based on a detailed anatomic
knowledge, including a range of techniques and the ability
to adapt and apply them, and to have good physical fitness.
3 Organisational and managerial skills that can be
applied to working with patients, colleagues and other
4 Excellent communication and advanced listening skills to
help with diagnosis and treatment, and outstanding spoken
communication skills in order to have effective dialogue
with patients about their condition and how to treat it.
5 To have empathy, integrity and discretion.
Q How can osteopaths continually stay fresh,
educated and inspired by their profession?
Plan your continuing professional development carefully,
ensuring you learn across a range of areas. Always challenge
yourself with your development. Also work towards
developing a variety of inter- professional relationships
and consider working with a mentor.
QWhat’s the best piece of advice you’d
like to give new osteopaths?
Aim to keep good boundaries by having a work/life balance,
staying healthy, and maintaining therapeutic detachment.
the eXperienCe oF an up-and-Comer
Timothy McCormick is a fifth year osteopathy student.
He was drawn to the practical aspect of the osteopathy
degree after completing a theory-based science degree.
Q How much time do you spend working at Victoria
University’s Osteopathic Teaching Clinics?
In your fifth year you do two five-hour shifts per week during
the semester (10-hours per week).You’re also required to do
some shifts during the summer and winter breaks, however
it’s not as much as the semester load. Fourth year students
do one five-hour shift each week, and third year students
observe and assist the fourth years.
Q What sort of hands-on experience
do you get at the Clinic?
The Clinic is accurate to a clinical setting, but we tend to get
some different presenting conditions due to the lower cost
per consultation for patients. These include patients who seek
maintenance treatment and numerous chronic conditions. We
also see a range of conditions including all areas of the spine,
pelvic and shoulder girdles, peripheral limbs and head. Each
condition varies in practical experience, however a holistic
approach is often necessary.
Q Why do you think clinical experience
is a vital part of osteopathic education?
Practical experience is absolutely critical when you’re
going into a practice. It gives us students a feel for
different conditions, it exposes us to a variety of patients,
and it allows us to make informed clinical decisions by
combining our theoretical knowledge and accumulation
of practical experience.
Q What other initiatives, such as the Clinic, would
you like to see included in your education?
We currently do 16 hours of external clinical practice a
semester. I’d like to see more emphasis on this as it helps
to provide a broader perspective and it encourages more
interaction and inter-relationships with university students
and health professionals.
Q What’s the most pertinent piece of advice your
supervisors at university have given you?
Practice, practice, practice, as that is the key to success
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