Philosophy of osteopathic studies at SCU

Universities can play a major role in assisting a professional group evolve to reach its objectives and potential. Southern Cross University (SCU) aims to support the osteopathic profession as it builds an evidence-base for practice, expands the scope of practice where opportunities arise, and provides access to its services for more Australians. There are opportunities for Osteopaths to expand their primary care services to new arenas such as hospitals and community-based healthcare centres.

Southern Cross University seeks to graduate Osteopaths who demonstrate a range of capabilities for primary health care including commitment to health promotion and illness prevention, the ability to adapt their practices to meet the health and wellbeing needs of individual patients and to address prevailing social and community health concerns.

The Osteopathy course at SCU is designed to fulfil the accreditation requirements for training in Osteopathic Medicine for registration in Australia. It is delivered within the philosophical approaches of humanism, holism, and evidence-based practice and interdisciplinary education and practice, to develop the required knowledge, skills and attitudes for Osteopathic practice. To enter Osteopathic practice in Australia, graduates must be competent in medical and Osteopathic diagnoses and understand the scope of Osteopathic practice. Many traditional Osteopathic techniques lack evidence of benefits or risks or are based on controversial theory. An important goal of the course is to produce practitioners who critique the scientific literature on these traditions, and question, debate and test them. Students of the SCU Osteopathic course are educated to emerge from their course as graduates who are well equipped to actively engage in research.

Working in multidisciplinary health care teams is particularly important for meeting the challenges of an ageing population, an increasing prevalence of chronic illness and a focus on preventive and wellness medicine. Graduates must be able to collaborate with, and refer patients to, other health care professionals to ensure the best outcomes for patients.

The goals of the course, namely to enhance the Osteopathic profession through the provision of competent, safe and exemplary graduates, pervade the curriculum; strong grounding in the philosophical basis of Osteopathy and its holistic approach to medicine, deep knowledge of health and disease, and a development of personal and professional attributes including critical self reflection, independent problem solving, enthusiasm for enquiry, patient-centred and a willingness to collaborate as a member of a health care team. The graduate attributes of the University are embedded in the goals of the course and are tracked through the course in unit statements ensuring a consistent developmental process for graduation. Each unit statement includes assessment strategies for Southern Cross University's graduate attributes.Graduate Attributes

  • Intellectual rigour - a commitment to excellence in all scholarly and intellectual activities, including critical judgement.
  • Creativity - a commitment to achieving imaginative and creative responses to intellectual, professional and social challenges.
  • Ethical understanding and a commitment to the highest ethical standards and sensitivity to moral issues and conflicts.
  • Command of an area of knowledge to enable a smooth transition to professional or other scholarly settings.
  • Lifelong learning - the ability to be responsive to change, to be reflective in practice and to be information literate in order to update one's knowledge through independent and self-directed learning.
  • Effective communication and social skills - the ability to communicate and collaborate in ways that are appropriate in scholarly, professional and social settings.
  • Cultural awareness - a global world view encompassing a cosmopolitan outlook as well as local perspective on social and cultural issues, together with an informed respect for cultural and Indigenous identity.

The goals of this course closely align with the Model Course Objectives of the Australasian Osteopathic Accreditation Council (AOAC).

Course Objectives

On successful completion of the course graduates will have knowledge and understanding of:

  • the origins and principles of Osteopathic medicine
  • physical, biological, behavioural and social sciences which underpin Osteopathic practice
  • the interrelatedness of structure and function through the life stages
  • the interrelatedness of mind and body
  • pathological processes which disturb homeostasis of the human body
  • biopsychosocial influences on health
  • the application and limitations of a wide range of Osteopathic treatments and management plans including patient education for rehabilitation, health promotion and illness prevention to patients of all ages and including patients from disadvantaged groups in the community
  • the contribution of Osteopathic medicine to managing disorders of somatic origin
  • the Australian health care system, the provision of health care by diverse agencies within it including health care provision for disadvantaged groups within the community
  • referral of patients to other health care professionals and support services when required
  • collaboration with other health professionals for optimal, timely and cost-effective health care for patients
  • the contribution of Osteopathic medicine to public and occupational health
  • the central role of scientific evidence in informing Osteopathic practice
  • the legal and ethical responsibilities associated with Osteopathic practice
  • the contribution of Osteopathic practice to environmental sustainability in all areas of Osteopathic practice

On successful completion of the course graduates will have the skills to:

  • integrate their knowledge of science and the philosophical tenets of osteopathy and practice
  • conduct a primary care therapeutic assessment that includes physical and psychosocial aspects of health
  • use advanced clinical reasoning skills to inform proposed actions in specific contexts; actions include osteopathic management and treatment and referral to other health care practitioners and services as required
  • coproduce management plans with patients/carers
  • practice safe and effective manual therapy with a diverse range of patients
  • perform first aid procedures if required
  • monitor and review ongoing osteopathic management and treatment plans, including patient education, referral to other health care professionals, and counselling if needed with a diverse range of clients
  • use current high quality evidence where appropriate to inform osteopathic practice
  • collaborate in multi-disciplinary teams including mainstream medical practitioners, allied and complementary therapies practitioners to achieve optimal outcomes for patients
  • demonstrate a patient-centred orientation in osteopathic practice
  • implement a commitment to health promotion and illness prevention in practice when meeting the health and wellbeing needs of individual patients
  • provide a health service that is relevant to the prevailing health needs and priorities of the broader community
  • reflect on their practices and demonstrate a willingness to participate in peer review and quality improvement processes
  • exhibit the graduate attributes, as specified by the UNESCO's 1998 World Declaration in Higher Education for the 21st Century and Southern Cross University's graduate attributes
  • demonstrate advanced communication skills and the ability to establish appropriate professional relationships with patients/carers

On successful completion of the course graduates will develop attitudes of:

  • commitment to a patient-centred approach in practice including clear, complete and appropriate communication and coproduction management and treatment plans
  • commitment to service to individuals and the community
  • sensitivity to and respect for cultural and individual differences
  • appreciation for a comprehensive health care approach to diagnosis and treatment where physical, mental, emotional, spiritual and social realms of an individual are taken into account
  • respect for the interrelatedness of structure and function and of the self healing and self regulating mechanisms of the body
  • willingness to accept the responsibilities associated with osteopathic care of individual patients, the osteopathic profession and the community
  • commitment to finding the best outcomes for patients by recognizing their own skills and limitations, the scope of osteopathic practice, the contribution of other health care workers, and with consideration of cost effectiveness of treatments
  • willingness to collaborate with other health care workers and to refer clients when appropriate
  • commitment to continually improving practice through continuing professional education programs, reading peer-reviewed journal papers and quality assurance measures such as clinical audits and case file reviews
  • commitment to life-long learning and willingness to adapt to the complex and changing nature of contemporary osteopathic practice
  • commitment to preventive and wellness medicine
  • commitment to principles of environmental sustainability as the apply to osteopathic practice

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