Medical EducationORIGINAL ARTICLE

The effect of postgraduate osteopathic manipulative treatment training on practice: a survey of osteopathic residents

Anna M. Kerr, PhD; Kelly L. Nottingham, PhD, MPH; Becky L. Martin, MA; and Stevan A. Walkowski, DO
Notes and Affiliations
Notes and Affiliations

Received: November 4, 2021

Accepted: June 15, 2022

Published: August 5, 2022

  • Anna M. Kerr, PhD, 

    Department of Primary Care, Heritage College of Osteopathic Medicine, Ohio University, Athens, OH, USA

  • Kelly L. Nottingham, PhD, MPH, 

    Department of Social and Public Health, College of Health Sciences and Professions, Ohio University, Athens, OH, USA

  • Becky L. Martin, MA, 

    Office of Osteopathic Integration, Heritage College of Osteopathic Medicine, Ohio University, Dublin, OH, USA

  • Stevan A. Walkowski, DO, 

    Department of Osteopathic Principles and Practices, Alabama College of Osteopathic Medicine, Dothan, AL, USA

Abstract

Context: Osteopathic medical students receive an abundance of training in osteopathic manipulative treatment (OMT) during their first 2 years of medical school and less during the second 2 years. Family Medicine residency programs often include significantly more OMT training during residency, but it is less frequently applied in other residencies.

Objectives: This survey was designed utilizing the theory of planned behavior to see whether specific training in osteopathic manipulative medicine (OMM) after osteopathic medical school was an influence in changing behavior, attitudes, and knowledge around OMT in osteopathic residents.

Methods: A total of 188 osteopathic medicine residents were invited to complete an anonymous cross-sectional online survey. The survey asked residents about their postgraduate OMT training and their knowledge, attitudes, norms, intentions, and behavior regarding OMT. Inferential statistics were utilized to determine whether significant differences existed by specialty and by type of training.

Results: Sixty residents (31.9% response rate) completed the survey. This response rate is consistent with previous online survey studies, but it may indicate that residents chose not to participate due to survey fatigue or a lack of interest in OMM. Overall, residents who completed postgraduate training reported significantly stronger positive attitudes about the value of OMT in patient care (t=3.956; p<0.001). Primary care residents talk to their patients about OMT and perform OMT more frequently than residents in surgical (p<0.01) and other subspecialties (p<0.01). Residents who completed postgraduate training (n=41) reported significantly more knowledge about the fundamental principles (p=0.04), benefits (p=0.03), and common techniques (p=0.01) of OMT, and rated their ability to perform OMT (p=0.001) higher than those who had not completed postgraduate training. Trained residents also talked to patients about OMT (p<0.001), referred patients for OMT (p=0.01), and performed OMT (p<0.001) more frequently. They also reported significantly stronger subjective norms (p=0.000; p<0.001), perceived behavioral control (p=0.02; p=0.004), positive attitudes (p=0.004; p=0.003), and intentions (p<0.001; p<0.001) regarding talking to patients and performing OMT, respectively. Residents who completed in-person training reported talking to their patients about OMT (p=0.002) and performing OMT (p=0.001) more frequently, and having more confidence in their ability to perform OMT (p=0.02). Residents who completed in-person training reported significantly stronger subjective norms (p<0.001; p<0.001), perceived behavioral control (p=0.001; p=0.002), positive attitudes (p=0.05; p=0.03), and intentions (p<0.001; p=0.001) regarding talking to patients about OMT and performing OMT, respectively. Residents who completed in-person training reported stronger subjective norms (p=0.05) related to referring patients for OMT.

Conclusions: Residents who complete postgraduate training perform OMT, talk to their patients about OMT, and refer patients for OMT more frequently. Residents who participate in training, particularly in-person training, have stronger subjective norms, perceived behavioral control, positive attitudes, and behavioral intentions regarding talking with patients about OMT and performing OMT. These variables are validated predictors of behavior, making them important outcomes for training to promote OMT in patient care.

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