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Practice performance and performance anxiety: Preparing osteopathic students for practice

Sandra Grace, Julie Streckfuss


Background: During clinical training, osteopathy students are required to develop skills and attitudes that challenge their capabilities and viewpoints. The aim of this project was to inform pedagogical processes that could reduce the stress associated with beginning clinical practice.

Methods: Data were collected from two sources: (1) semi-structured interviews and (2) audiovisual material prepared by students for other purposes but which also shed light on their experiences of clinical placement. With participants’ consent, data were thematically analysed using constant comparison.

Results: Osteopathic students entering clinical practice experienced high levels of performance anxiety that caused physical and psychological stress. Despite achieving objectively-measured competencies in clinical assessments, students perceived they were not ready to perform as practitioners (e.g., appear confident, overcome nervousness and manage the consultation time).

Conclusions: To reduce performance anxiety associated with the transition to beginning practitioner, professional education needs to expand to include timely opportunities to learn practice performance skills.



performance anxiety; practitioner; clinical training; osteopathy; student; professional education

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