Fundamentals of Osteopathic Patient Care (FOPC)

Fundamentals of Osteopathic Patient Care (FOPC)

These courses are taught longitudinally during each semester the first two years and are correlated with and complement the information presented during the BECOM and Osteopathic Principles and Practices Courses.

The courses are designed to provide educational experiences that promote the development of the students into medical professionals rather than simply repositories of knowledge. The courses will require the development of active learning skills, the ability to inquire and communicate effectively with patients to acquire medical and historical information to guide patient care, the development of the skills required to work in health care teams and collaborative settings, and the maturation of the skills required to become self-directed and life-long learners. One key component throughout the courses is the requirement for the development of the clinical medical skills related to the systems being studied and demonstration of the ability to interpret, evaluate, and apply both knowledge and clinical skills to improve patient outcomes.

Through the Medical Humanities component of this element, the student will be introduced to the history of medicine, issues of diversity and culture, professionalism, ethics, law, and regulations effecting medical practice. Also included is an overview of the legal system in the United States and the State of Arkansas, including medical licensure and practice, issues of malpractice, patient rights including but not limited to informed consent, privacy, self-determination, and issues of regulatory and governmental oversight of the practice of medicine.

An important component of the student’s education is the role of faith and community values and how they affect them individually and the diverse patient populations they will serve. Students will learn to evaluate the psychosocial, economic, cultural, spiritual, and physiological issues affecting the patient.

The student is introduced to processes to advance the prevention of disease and injury, the application of public health principles, the development and application of health policy, and processes for health promotion and wellness. The course examines the development and application of health policy issues including scope of practice, distribution of and access to health care professionals, graduate medical education, the role of government in healthcare, and payment for medical care, (Medicare, Medicaid, Tri-Care, managed care, HMO’s and third party insurance, etc.). The course will also expose students to issues concerning the providing of health care for the uninsured and underserved populations and the role that community health centers and health departments play in public and personal health.

The course also places an emphasis on the development of clinical decision-making and clinical skills along with the ability to evaluate and apply information for the advancement of patient outcomes.

The course will explore the challenges of recognition and treatment for what are often called the modern plagues: substance abuse, domestic violence, bioterrorism, disaster medicine, health system economic challenges, chronic disease management, and the threats of new epidemics. The course will examine the unique needs of rural as well as urban medicine, the roles of military medical care, correctional medicine, and global medicine challenges.

One segment of the course looks at issues surrounding death and dying, palliative care, and end of life, including the rights and responsibilities of both the patient and the physician.

The student will be expected to develop and demonstrate skills and competencies in areas of interviewing and communicating with patients and colleagues, as well as demonstrate diagnostic and therapeutic reasoning, and problem solving skills. The student will be taught the diagnostic and therapeutic procedures and skills required of an osteopathic graduate prepared to enter graduate medical education. The student will demonstrate competencies required to function in different systems of health care including collaborative and team based settings.

The student, as a component of this core element, will have the opportunity to participate in early clinical experiences including interactions with standardized patients in simulation laboratories, physician offices, community health centers, health departments, and hospitals during each of the second through fourth semesters.

The curriculum correlates with the BECOM and OPP element courses and requires both passive and active learning in the classroom, in the physical diagnosis and procedures laboratory, in small group, team-based settings, and in clinical settings. It includes both the formative and summative utilization of simulator cases, computer-assisted clinical cases, early clinical exposure, and standardized patient encounters.


Each ARCOM student has service requirements that are a component of this course. These can be completed through participation during health screenings, service at charity clinics, local, national and international medical outreach events, and other service events during each semester. In addition to individual requirements, each student organization on campus must complete a service project each year to remain recognized as an official organization on the campus of ARCOM.


The Capstone Course

This course is designed to ensure that the medical student is prepared to begin full-time clinical education and have the opportunity for success during OMS-III core rotations. It occurs at the end of the OMS-II year and is a segment of the Foundations of Osteopathic Patient Care Courses.

A key component of the capstone course is the high stakes Objective Structured Clinical Examination and Clinical Skills Examination (OSCE) that each student must successfully complete in order to establish that they have acquired the competencies expected by the faculty, the osteopathic profession, and the public prior to beginning their clinical education. This evaluation will cover material that the student has been responsible for during the first two years of their education during the clinical medicine, biomedical, and Osteopathic Principles and Practices portions of the course. It utilizes oral, written, and computer-based evaluations, standardized patients, computer-assisted case based scenario, and simulator evaluations of knowledge and clinical skills.

The orientation to the clinical medicine and medical legal portions of the course will cover all policies and procedures related to the student’s upcoming clinical education, including schedules, examinations, administrative requirements and documentation, evaluations, etc. There will be coverage of issues such as working as a member of the health care team and cultural diversity, professionalism, sexual harassment, medical-legal responsibilities, laws and regulations affecting clinical practice and medical student education, as well as legal rights and responsibilities for medical students. The course will provide a review of the principles of documentation, billing and coding in the clinical setting. The course will allow for records review to ensure that each student has met all the requirements for health insurance, immunizations, physical examinations, drug screens or background checks, etc. required by the clinical partners of the COM.

Included as a component are educational courses in Basic Life Support, Advanced Cardiac Life Support, and Pediatric Advanced Life Support that each student must successfully complete to begin clinical rotations.

Included also are the required courses on OSHA, HIPPA, CLEA, and other regulatory and legal requirements that the student must be competent in to be allowed in clinical settings.

The final component of Fundamental of Patient Care curriculum is a structured board review in preparation for COMLEX Level 1. The student is required at the completion of the review to achieve an administrative established score on COMSAE to successfully complete the requirements of the curriculum and as an evaluation of the student’s preparation for COMLEX and USMLE examination. Upon producing a satisfactory score, the student will be released to take the national board examinations and progress to clinical education.