The British College of Osteopathic Medicine's Conversion Course for Osteopaths – a fifteen year review.
Heather Hinkley, British College of Osteopathic Medicine, UK
A novel conversion course for osteopaths was implemented by the British College of Osteopathic Medicine in 1994. Unique to osteopathic institutions, the aim of the course is to convert the diploma to a BSc (Hons) in Osteopathy, a more widely acknowledged academic currency (Bologna Accord). It has since been offered annually with a total of 201 graduates representing 14 countries. Sound written and spoken English is required for entry and students appreciate the benefit of an integrated international perspective. The course consists of two main components, 'Research Methods' and 'Advances in Osteopathic Medicine’, with a 9-month ‘in-p ractice Research Project’. Eight percent of total graduates have gained a 1st and 41% a 2.1 degree. Two students have since gained PhDs and a number of others have published original research findings and presented at conferences. The course has seen recent improvements with the introduction of a 'Journal Ready Research Paper' replacing the original dissertation format, the addition of a ‘Reflective Practice’ module and its delivery for the first time in centres across Europe, initially in Gent, Belgium.