Throughout my first placement session with Exmoor Osteopathy Clinic and after my initial induction, I was fortunate enough to be able to shadow Katrina during her morning treatments. From this I was able to begin to get a sense of her treatment style and clientele.
Before I commenced my first session at Exmoor Osteopathy, I wanted to understand what Osteopathy was and it’s role within patient care and appreciate the significance of their existence in relation to both the athletic and non-athletic population.
I therefore posed my initial question: what is Osteopathy and how is it different to other therapies?
Osteopathy can be practiced as complementary or within conventional, mainstream healthcare and involves manual therapy in a similar capacity as sports therapists and other musculoskeletal health practitioners by way of similar, evidence based rational with techniques including, but not limited to, soft tissue techniques, joint mobilisations, muscle energy and exercise therapy (Steel et al., 2017). At BSc level of qualification, high velocity low amplitude manipulations (HVLA) are not within the scope of a sports therapist without further, more extensive training, however these techniques are often used within a Osteopath’s typical treatment session and as such provide a different course of treatment for the patient (Steel et al., 2017). Osteopaths, including Katrina at Exmoor Osteopathy, can also offer cranial-sacral therapy, when suitable qualifications are obtained and so I hope to develop an understanding of the nature of this treatment.
In a research report, Grace et al. (2016) concluded that Osteopathic reasoning, compared with that of other health professions, is focused more on the guiding of treatment itself and less on clinical diagnoses. Although in a similar vain to Steel et al. (2017), this particular research article did not find much in the way of differentiating between the reasonings of Osteopathy and other health professions.
During my first session I also took the time to derive a set of important goals and discussed with my supervisor what I hope to achieve over the 50 hours of this placement and how I will go about obtaining these with time frames for added structure and motivation. With the support from my supervisor, I hope to achieve the following goals by the end of this term;
Goal: To further enhance my ability to recognise the movements within a joint and their associated capsular patterns. I hope to achieve this by experiencing different end feels and joint movements over a wide variety of patients with a wide variety of joint pathologies.
I hope to be able to identify different capsular patterns and be confident in identifying joint injuries and differentiate these from soft tissue injuries.
How I will achieve this: by involving myself in the diagnosing process and ensuring that I test the joints alongside my supervisor, asking questions and entering into discussions about my understanding and ability to recognise joint movement.
How I will measure this: By the end of the placement, I hope to be able to confidently identify joint pathologies and understand the appropriate associated treatment by way of an effective assessment process, as a result of evidence based and hands on experience.
2. To become more confident when using techniques to manual handle joints for mobilisations and joint testing; as present, I find it difficult to correctly manoeuvre my way around a patient and their joints.
By better understanding range of motion and joint movements, I should hopefully have a more comprehensive understanding and therefore ability to fully assess a joint in a correct and efficient manner.
How I will achieve this: I will observe the methods used by Katrina to handle patients during exams and treatment. Katrina is petite and as such needs to utilise an effective and safe way of treating, especially when faced with larger patients with heavier limbs and more difficult treatment requirements, such a spinal mobilisations.
How I will measure this: I will hope to maintain good working posture to ensure that I do not injury myself or develop discomfort when treating patients and feel comfortable throughout all treatments as much as is practicable.
3. To build a solid working relationship with Katrina and her partner, Ed in order to continue my professional development with a thriving local business and to maintain this relationship to allow me a base from which I can enhance my learning experience as a Sports Therapist.
From an association with Exmoor Osteopathy, patients can be passed on where necessary when necessary treatment is not within my scope, or visa versa.
How I will achieve this: I will maintain a professional manner throughout my entire placement and always show enthusiasm and willingness to learn, asking questions and contributing when necessary and by communicating my goals and aspirations with my supervisor, Katrina. I will be punctual, respect all clinic procedures and policies and fulfil all that is expected of me, while being considerate of the sensitive nature of the clinic and their patients.
How I will measure this: I will communicate regularly with my placement supervisor and ask for feedback when possible, about my conduct and development over the 50hours. I will do all that I can to learn from this feedback with dedication and within the placement timeframe and as such complete the placement with a good relationship with the Osteopath clinic. I will work hard to maintain this link during my professional career thereafter.
I am looking forward to embarking on this challenge and hope to use this fantastic opportunity to learn as much as I can from a very professional clinical environment with a very well-established client base and reputation.
Grace, S., Orrock, P., Vaughan, B., Blaich, R., & Coutts, R. (2016). Understanding clinical reasoning in osteopathy: A qualitative research approach. Chiropractic and Manual Therapies, 24(1), 1–10. https://doi.org/10.1186/s12998-016-0087-x
Steel, A., Blaich, R., Sundberg, T., & Adams, J. (2017). The role of osteopathy in clinical care: Broadening the evidence-base. International Journal of Osteopathic Medicine, 24, 32–36. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ijosm.2017.02.002