Teaching critical thinking in osteopathy – Integrating craft knowledge and evidence-informed approaches

  • Gary Fryer
    A.T. Still Research Institute, Kirksville, MO, USA.
    A.T. Still Research Institute, Kirksville, MO, USA

    Department of Osteopathic Manipulative Medicine, Kirksville College of Osteopathic Medicine, Kirksville, MO, USA

    Centre for Aging, Rehabilitation and Exercise Science, Victoria University, Melbourne, Australia
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      Educators in the field of osteopathic manipulative medicine have a responsibility to encourage critical thinking and integration of evidence-based knowledge. Important strategies for osteopathic educators include discussion of relevant evidence as part of classroom osteopathic manual technique training; problem-based or case-based critical appraisal exercises which focus on the management of actual patients; and provision of adequate information resources in teaching clinics to support evidence-based practice. Where evidence conflicts with a particular paradigm, educators should be prepared to adapt and modify their teaching. A pragmatic approach for teaching osteopathic technique where evidence conflicts with aspects of theory and practice is outlined, using a case study from the author's experience in teaching muscle energy technique as an example of using an evidence-informed and critical thinking approach to motivate and empower students, rather than engender disillusionment or ‘evidence nihilism’.


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