Assessment and improving osteopathic palpation skills of Osteopathic students / Symposium B

Objectives – Verify palpation skill level and progression of our students.
Design – Observational
Participants - first year (G1) and third year (G2) students of Osteopathy course designed for health professionals.
Methods - Two groups of 21 students assessed by palpation the models developed by A.T.Still University. Both groups had no previously training in these models. The first task was to assess in three papers models and in three wooden models with marks corresponding to the distance from ASIS, PSIS and pubic tubercles if the right side compering with the left side is equal, superior or inferior. The second task was to verify in two lumbar models if the right transverse process is equal, anterior or posterior comparing with the left transverse process. The final task was in anterior and posterior pelvic models which was the pelvic bone rotated in anterior direction. Inter-rater reliability (IRR) for each assessment was assessed by the Kappa statistics.
Results - In G1 the kappa value was 0.25, 0.54, 0.70 in the paper models, 0.34, 0.24, 0.63 in the wooden models, 0.43, 0.06 in lumbar models and 0.07 in the pelvic models. In G2 was 0.58, 0.85, 0.90 in the paper models, 0.58, 0.45, 0.65 in the wooden models, 0.64, 0.30 in lumbar models and 0.18 in the pelvic models.
Conclusion - Students palpation skills improve during the course. However, there is slight to fair IRR agreement in the last two palpation models meaning is absolutely necessary to introduce more specific palpation training in our Osteopathic course.


Alexandre Nunes
MSc. Neuromusculoskeletal Healthcare, Keele University
BSc. Osteopathy Oxford Brookes University
Registered at GOsC.
Professor at ITS
Research Department at ITS

Dr. Mário Borges de Sousa
ITS Director
Program Coordinator of Osteopathic courses in Portugal for more than 30 years, and recently with other Portuguese Universities such ISEC, ESTsEL, UVG
PHD in Health Sciences, Touro University International
MSc. in Development Management and International Cooperation, Modern University of Lisbon
BSc. in Osteopathy Lindlaher College of Natural Therapeutic of South África in 1960