Home' OsteoLife : Spring 2013 Contents 18 Australian Osteopathic Association
IN THE FIELD
THE GREAT DEBATE
"I first expressed interest in this foreign student
placement following a request from the AOA. Knowing
that in the US osteopathic training is in the physician
model (with full prescribing and surgery rights), I initially
wondered whether an Australian rotation would be of
any interest to an American graduate student.
"However, I thought it could be interesting for both
of us as well as the other associates at my clinic and
other clinics to discuss and experience the differences
"I am fascinated that the course of osteopathy took such
a different path in the US. I've been involved in many
discussions about the differences in practice between
these countries and have attended seminars in the US
and been involved in these issues at a political level.
"Once I confirmed that Ashley fully understood the
differences here, and that she wouldn't have any formal
opportunities for practice because of insurance issues, we
"Ashley was a great ambassador, both self-motivated and
highly competent, and took up all opportunities offered.
She visited a variety of clinics and teaching institutions.
"One of our associates also works at WHRIA and she was
able to observe there with Professor Thierry Vancaillie
and others who were very generous with their time.
"Ashley was a sensitive and intelligent observer and made
great connections when she observed in our clinic.
"I would certainly offer such services again. To have a
graduate student onsite gives a valuable connection
with our US colleagues, given that US osteopaths are
the largest osteopathic group in our profession. It was
great to have Ashley here for the two-month rotation
and I would recommend it to others."
Osteopathy in Australia and osteopathic medicine in the US
are almost identical twins. Ashley McSorley, D.O. shares her
thoughts on the differences in training systems.
Ashley McSorley was at the end of her fourth year of
osteopathic medicine at Des Moines University when
she decided to do an eight-week rotation in Australia.
She had the pleasure of working with a number of osteopaths
in Sydney and Melbourne, such as Jennifer Paull Osteopaths,
the Women's Health & Research Institute of Australia (WHRIA)
and Victoria University (VU) osteopathy clinic.
During her time at VU and RMIT University, she noticed
that most of the diagnostic and treatment techniques and
principles that Australian osteopaths learn are incorporated
into American osteopathic medical schools.
Ashley says that, in the US, osteopathic training consists of a
four-year university degree plus four years of medical school.
"I have a Bachelor of Science in Biology from St. Ambrose
University and had to complete certain classes for medical
school," she says. "I also had to take the Medical College
Admission Test (MCAT) in order to apply to medical school."
After graduating from osteopathic medical school, Ashley
earned a Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine and is now able to
perform invasive techniques and prescribe.
In contrast, becoming an osteopath in Australia consists
of five years of training where most students graduate with
a Bachelor and Master in Osteopathy, perform non-invasive
manual therapies and give nutritional and health advice.
Osteopaths are trained as primary care providers and are able
to refer to medical doctors in order to be sent for tests or to
be given certain medications. After osteopaths graduate, they
apply for registration and are able to practise in private clinics.
All testing is done during the five-year osteopathic program.
In medical school in the US, students are required to take
examinations to obtain a licence as a physician to practise
medicine in residency. They also take a test in their specialty.
Although Ashley can see major similarities in the training
system, when it comes to practice the difference is clear.
"Osteopaths in Australia and DOs in the US both take a full
history in subjective form and formulate a differential and a
plan. Osteopaths then diagnose and treat whatever somatic
dysfunction they find, whereas DOs will perform a check up
or physical depending on what type of specialist they are and
what the patient is presenting with," Ashley says. •••
"I AM FASCINATED THAT THE
COURSE OF OSTEOPATHY TOOK
SUCH A DIFFERENT PATH IN THE US."
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