Patients’ understanding of their presenting conditions following a consultation with a student osteopath

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Turner, Adam
Author ORCID Profiles (clickable)
Master of Osteopathy
Unitec Institute of Technology
Roy, Dianne
Hach, Sylvia
Masters Thesis
Ngā Upoko Tukutuku (Māori subject headings)
New Zealand
osteopathic medicine
osteopathic patients
osteopaths and patients
student practitioners
information exchange
Turner, A. (2021). Patients’ understanding of their presenting conditions following a consultation with a student osteopath (Unpublished document submitted in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Osteopathy). Unitec Institute of Technology, New Zealand
INTRODUCTION Research indicates that when health practitioners communicate well, patients’ understanding of their presenting conditions may improve, enhancing healthcare outcomes. Despite the significance of effective communication within a health professional-patient relationship, there is little research exploring this phenomenon within osteopathy. AIMS AND RESEARCH QUESTIONS This study explored patients’ understanding of their presenting conditions following a consultation with a student osteopath in a New Zealand student osteopathic clinic. Research questions were: What themes exist within patients’ description of their conditions/s following an osteopathic consultation? What relationship exists between student-practitioners’ communication and the patient’s understanding of their conditions? METHODS Interpretive Description (ID) was the qualitative methodological approach adopted for the study. This approach was chosen because it has been utilised successfully by researchers investigating a range of clinical phenomena. Key data for analyses included the audio recordings of consultations between the student-participants (n = 11; fifth-year Master of Osteopathy students) and patient-participants (n = 20; patients of the student-participants) and short interviews with patients following consultations. The data were triangulated and analysed thematically. FINDINGS Three main themes were identified: a) it’s a process, b) building trust, and c) focussing on communicating and understanding. The first theme highlighted patients acknowledging that processes played a part in various aspects of their conditions, such as the development of and what would be required to improve their conditions. The second theme illustrated student-practitioner communication building patient trust. Trust seemed to be supported by patients’ confidence in student-practitioner’s abilities, training, and knowledge. The final theme showed student-participants focused on delivering effective and understandable communication. By customising messages, student-practitioners helped make the language used more understandable for patients. As patients started making sense of what was occurring with their bodies, they could link how various elements (such as habits and parts of the body) might be interconnected. The student-practitioner and patient relationship seemed to be underpinned by trust and confidence. CONCLUSION The findings highlighted communication strategies that might help patients’ health outcomes within an osteopathic setting. Student-practitioners ensured their communication was clear and accessible to patients, which supported the therapeutic relationship and helped deliver person-centred care.
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