Preparing osteopathy graduates for future careers: A review of osteopathic education in Australia
Keywords:capabilities, careers, education, employability, osteopathy, pathways, skills, siphon
Introduction: Osteopathy in Australia faces an uncertain future as an unprecedented number of graduates enter the profession. While most are destined to work in private practice, workforce data suggests that limited career diversity and practitioner maldistribution are associated with growing rates of job dissatisfaction and professional attrition. Cultivating employability skills that promote diverse careers is the responsibility of education providers, yet it is unclear whether existing osteopathy programs are achieving this. Our aim was to determine if osteopathic curricula provide the employability skills required to prepare graduates for diverse careers.
Methods: This study was conducted as part of a larger project by RMIT University and Osteopathy Australia entitled “Strategic plan for the osteopathy profession 2030”. A two-part approach was utilised. Part A involved a comparison of core learning outcomes (contained within current Australian osteopathy curricula) against key employability skills required for success in a diverse range of careers. A consensus development panel was consulted in Part B to capture the perspectives of experts in the field.
Results: Content analysis and expert panel discussions identified the curricula has a strong focus on critical thinking, communication and problem solving and less focus on teamwork, leadership, initiative and enterprise and technological skills. Furthermore, osteopathy programs offer limited elective and micro-credentialing opportunities.Conclusions: Career diversity and increased job satisfaction for osteopathy graduates may be achieved by empowering them with the skills to succeed in careers beyond private practice. This calls for curriculum reforms and expanded elective and micro-credentialing options to enable students to broaden their skills and widen their options.
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