Medical EducationOriginal Article

Effects of Clinical Exposure to Osteopathic Manipulative Medicine on Confidence Levels of Medical Students

Lisa N. Shapiro, DO; Danielle Defoe, DO; Min-Kyung Jung, PhD; To Shan Li, DO; and Sheldon C. Yao, DO
Notes and Affiliations
Notes and Affiliations

Received: October 16, 2016

Accepted: November 11, 2016

Published: August 1, 2017

J Osteopath Med; 117(8): e1-e5

Context: Training in osteopathic manipulative medicine (OMM) is a unique component of the osteopathic medical school curriculum. Indicators of successful OMM programming include student comfort in explaining and performing OMM as well as confidence in using OMM on future patients. Research on the amount of clinical exposure sufficient to achieve this goal is limited.

Objectives: To gauge the impact of clinical OMM exposure on medical students’ self-assessed understanding of OMM, their ability to discuss, explain, and perform OMM, and their plan to use OMM in their future practice.

Methods: Fourth-year osteopathic medical students were e-mailed surveys before (baseline), during, and after 4 weeks (postrotation) of an elective OMM rotation. Answers were scaled from 0 to 10, with 0 being not at all comfortable/confident and 10 being the most comfortable/confident.

Results: Thirty-five students participated in the survey. A significant mean (SD) increase was found between the baseline and postrotation scores for students’ understanding of OMM principles (1.43 [0.51]; P<.001), comfort discussing OMM principles with patients (1.27 [0.88]; P<.001), comfort with explaining OMM to someone unfamiliar with it (1.32 [0.82]; P<.001), comfort with performing an osteopathic structural examination (2.23 [1.44]; P<.001), and confidence incorporating OMM into future practice (1.86 [0.47]; P<.001).

Conclusions: Increased clinical exposure to OMM increased the confidence of osteopathic medical students in all dimensions surveyed. This observation can help guide the development of undergraduate osteopathic clinical programming as well as standards for entry of allopathic residents into ACGME programs with osteopathic designation.

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