Medical EducationOriginal Article

Osteopathic Medical Student Practice of Osteopathic Manipulative Treatment During School Break

Stacey Pierce-Talsma, DO, MS EdL; R. Mitchell Hiserote, DO; and Gregg Lund, DO
Notes and Affiliations
Notes and Affiliations

Received: June 14, 2016

Accepted: July 20, 2016

Published: March 1, 2017

J Osteopath Med; 117(3): 176-182

Context: Osteopathic manipulative treatment (OMT) is integral in osteopathic medical education. The timing of the loss of interest, leading to decreasing clinical use, is unclear. Osteopathic medical students’ activities during laboratories or rotations are determined by laboratory or preceptor requirements and do not characterize students’ interest in or how they value OMT. Students who practice OMT when they are not required to may demonstrate that they are interested in, perceive a positive value of, and have confidence in using OMT.

Objectives: To characterize preclinical students practicing OMT during their school break.

Methods: First- and second-year students at the Touro University College of Osteopathic Medicine-CA and the University of New England College of Osteopathic Medicine were surveyed about whether they practiced OMT during winter break, types of conditions addressed, OMT technique(s) used, their practice partners’ response to OMT, and reasons for not practicing OMT, if applicable. Students were also asked if they would have practiced more OMT if they had setups similar to those of the practice environment at school.

Results: Of the 499 surveys sent, 407 (81.6%) were returned. Of 407 students, 269 (66.1%) reported that they practiced OMT during winter break, and they used a full range of OMT techniques. Students reported a total of 551 practice partners and 602 complaints. Overall, 429 of 497 practice partners (86.3%) reported they were much improved or improved, and 6 of 497 (1.2%) felt worse or much worse. The most common reasons for not practicing OMT were that no one had complaints (56.3%) and that there was no place to practice (37.3%).

Conclusions: More than half of surveyed students showed an interest in practicing OMT when it was not required of them. These findings may imply the need for curriculum changes at osteopathic medical schools to ensure student competency with using OMT techniques that take less time and can be done in a variety of settings and with discussing OMT with practice partners.

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