Much has been written about how, where and what we are palpating when we are learning and teaching osteopathic technique, but to date little consideration has been given to the language students and educators use when describing palpatory experiences. Chaitow (2003) entreats us to develop a language of nuances, so that we may foster the development of a high quality, primary contact profession. This presents a challenge to those involved in osteopathic education, as we strive for clarity in our intention and meaning. It is important to be clear in our intentions when teaching palpation, and since language shapes our thoughts and actions, it is vitally important to use the right words. Osteopathy is an emerging profession which is in the process of developing an excellent standard of education in order to produce graduates of the highest calibre. The osteopathic core-competency of palpatory skill requires effective teaching and a standard language to avoid confusion and misunderstanding. In this pilot study, osteopathic students and teachers were invited to submit their word preferences to describe palpatory findings of "ease" and "bind", with the aim of discovering more about the lived experience of palpation. The aim of the study was to explore the language used in learning and teaching palpation and whether this language is meaningful to students and practitioners. The study found that while there were many common words, educators and students use a diverse array of words to describe their palpatory experiences. This paper presents the findings of the responses. These findings will contribute to enhanced student learning via an improved understanding of teaching effectiveness. Chaitow, L. (2003). Palpation and assessment skills: assessment and diagnosis through touch. London: Elsevier
Julie Streckfuss BAppSc(Osteopathy), GradCertHE(L&T) is a lecturer in osteopathic studies and advanced anatomy at Southern Cross University in New South Wales, Australia. She graduated from RMIT and has practised as an osteopath for twenty years in Melbourne and Byron Bay. She has been involved in the development of the new osteopathic program at SCU, and in developing processes for assessment of overseas-qualified osteopaths seeking registration in Australia. Julie has research interests in osteopathic education, and has completed a Graduate Certificate in Higher Education. She has been involved in osteopathic education for 16 years and is a current board member of the Sutherland Cranial Teaching Foundation of Australia and New Zealand.