An international study of osteopathic practice

Cameron, Melainie (1999) An international study of osteopathic practice. Research Master thesis, Victoria University of Technology.


There is marked variation in educational background and practice among osteopaths around the world. The profession lacks unity, and frequently osteopaths of one geographical region, educational background, or practice style, do not acknowledge as colleagues, osteopaths of another location, training, or field of practice. I completed an international study of osteopathic practice, surveyed practitioners in five geographical regions, and compared their pre-professional training with their actual practice. Information was also collected from colleges of osteopathic medicine regarding pre-professional training offered for osteopathic students. This information has been assembled into a Worldwide Sourcebook of Osteopathy (Cameron, 1999) that is expected to be of significant interest to prospective, and current, osteopathic students and practitioners alike. Current and recent global trends in osteopathic education include moves towards the highest awardable degree or diploma for any programme, and continued favour of the abbreviation "D.O." Regional educational trends were also noted, particularly the increased emphasis on osteopathic manipulative medicine in osteopathic colleges in the USA. The recent moves towards collegiality in the United Kingdom contrast sharply with the intercollegial disputes of Europe. Rapid expansion of osteopathic education in Australasia, and the push towards greater government recognition in both Europe and Canada were also noteworthy. In most aspects of osteopathic education investigated, osteopaths reported a close fit between educational provision and subsequent workplace use of a given skill. The major disparities between what people were taught in their osteopathic education and what they actually used in practice were in the areas of: (a) making and receiving of referrals, (b) medical testing procedures (ie: laboratory tests, physical examination, radiology), (c) some aspects of osteopathic manual medicine, (d) research skills, and (e) teaching. Education is a powerful tool for shaping subsequent professional practice. Educational institutions also have a responsibility to provide vocational training that meets the demands of the profession at large. Results are discussed in terms of the future challenges for the osteopathic profession, both in education and in the workplace.

Additional Information

Master of Health Science

Item type Thesis (Research Master thesis)
Subjects Historical > Faculty/School/Research Centre/Department > School of Biomedical and Health Sciences
Historical > FOR Classification > 1116 Medical Physiology
Historical > FOR Classification > 1199 Other Medical and Health Sciences
Keywords osteopathy, physicians, medicine
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