Introduction: Chiropractic students often serve as subjects in laboratories where they and their classmates practice examinations, various soft tissue techniques, physiological therapeutic modalities, and active rehabilitation. There are contraindications and risks associated with these procedures. This article describes how a procedure was developed to identify potential health concerns and risks that students may face while serving as subjects or performing procedures in clinical skills laboratories.
Methods: Screening questions and examination procedures were developed through a consensus process. Findings from the screening process determine whether students may engage in full participation or limited participation (precautions) or are prohibited from receiving certain procedures (contraindications). Skills laboratory students and their instructors are informed of any identifiable precautions or contraindications to participation.
Results: Since its implementation, precautions regarding delivery of manual therapies were found in 4% of those examined and precautions regarding receiving manual therapies in 11.5%. Contraindications to receiving specified manual therapies were found in 8%, and 4% had contraindications to certain physiological therapeutic modalities. Discussion: Further work is necessary to improve compliance with follow-up regarding diagnosis of conditions revealed or suspected. Future efforts should address how well students adhered to precautions and contraindications, the nature and frequency of injuries sustained within the laboratories, and what specific measures were taken by faculty to help students with special needs.
Conclusion: This chiropractic college now has a method to describe potential risks, explain rules of laboratory participation, and obtain consent from each student.
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