Visceral and Obstetric Association
The V and O is a special Clinical Interest Group provided for members who wish to gain access to such things as updates, information, research commentary, networking, and CPD, relevant to the focus of the association.
Chair: Caroline Stone D.O.(Hons), MSc(Ost), MEd, MClinEd
In formal terms, the association is a Community Interest Company, limited by guarantee. Its company name is:
Visceral and Obstetric Association C.I.C, its number is 11797321.
Registered address is: 101 Gisburn Road, Barrowford, BB9 6DX, UK.
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Most osteopaths and manual therapy practitioners simply want a way of improving their knowledge and practice dynamics, ant don't need to take endless additional assessed courses, or have to do a minimum number or type of courses to 'qualify' for membership of a particular body. Hence a membership special interest group service that has no 'bar' to jump for registration meets most peoples' needs. This is the basic premise of the V and O.
WHAT IF I WANT TO BE RECOGNISED FOR HAVING CERTAIN SKILLS, OR KNOWLEDGE OR PRACTICE EXPERIENCE?
For those that want to take their practice further, the College of Non Musculoskeletal Osteopathy is aiming to run a credentialing / assessment service, which will be developed alongside the S-OHC - Society of Osteopathic Health Care - a national professional association for osteopaths, for Fellowship recognition by the Society. The V and O will contribute to these bodies in relevant fields of care such as paediatrics, visceral, systemic care, and obstetrics, for example.
The Society is open to registered osteopaths only (or osteopaths who are a member of an osteopathic professional body if no formal regulatory body is established in their locality). It mostly represents osteopaths in the UK, but takes members from around the globe in order to foster and encourage communication regarding professional practice, standards, competence and related issues. The Society has several tiers of membership - general (full) membership for those wanting to engage with a professional association and benefit from the community of practice that this fosters. Associate membership is available for those who are overseas or who are students of osteopathy (this is a non voting membership). Full membership is a voting membership and enables access to additional CPD and updates. Associate membership entitles people to engage with certain tiers of CPD and information generated by the society such as newsletters / blogs and updates. A third tier of membership is that of Fellow. Fellowship of the Society is aimed at individual practitioners who have a particular skill set, or experience, or interest in a certain field of care. This is NOT a technique oriented criteria - but much more to do with clinical familiarity and levels of exposure to a variety of patient presentations or situations, such that Fellows would be in a strong place to consider contribute to avenues for practice (and associated standards) in these fields of care. Through its membership, its broader links and through its Fellowship programme, the Society aims to establish standards and competence frameworks, and associated assessment approaches for practice across a range of fields of care, to better inform the public and other interested parties as to the possible applications of osteopathic practice. To support these endeavours the Society aims to foster links with patient groups and public bodies and also aims to work with other national and international bodies representing osteopaths, and other stakeholders regarding osteopathic practice. It is developing a relationship with the College of Non Musculoskeletal Osteopathy to undertake assessments / credentialing for Fellowship. Applicants would pay a fee to the CNMO for this service, separate to membership fees to the Society. Successful completion of the assessment process is one of the entry requirements for Fellowship of the S-OHC. Fellows are expected to contribute to the body of knowledge such as practical protocols, research and evidence frameworks, and guidance for general osteopathic practice in a variety of fields of care. Fellows are expected to actively engage in these types of professional activities at a greater depth than general members or the wider community of osteopaths.
All osteopaths have the capacity to work across all scopes / fields of care - Fellows are practitioners from within the general community of osteopaths that collaborate, talk with, engage with, and take experience from their peers and fellow osteopaths (whether members of the S-OHC or not), to collate, explore and frame a guide to standards for practice across a range of fields of care. This better enables communication of the roles that osteopaths can play, and what evidence might be required to establish clinical efficacy and outcomes, or to identify what knowledge or research gaps are and how to possibly fill them. STANDARDS ARE DRIVEN FROM THE BODY OF OSTEOPATHS - BOTTOM UP, NOT TOP DOWN! Engagement with the practitioner-stakeholders is key to ensuring practice standards are set / revised realistically, and appropriately. Engaging from the ground up is a key skill required of Fellows - and it is a Fellow's ability to engage in all these types of professional activities that are credentialed. A final tier of membership / recognition would be that of Senior Fellow - who in addition to the above, undertakes research, and publishes original work.
Fellows wanting to have their fellowship endorsed for a certain field of care can go through a process to demonstrate their higher level understanding within this field of care, such as paediatrics or women's health or sports care, for example. This type of additional credentialing would involve demonstration of critical analysis into the roles and boundaries of osteopathic care in a certain field of practice, risks and benefits, critical appraisal of current research and an analysis of their individual approach within osteopathy to this field of care. Again, the format for this type of credentialing is being developed with the College of Non Musculoskeletal Osteopathy.