TCM Diagnosis & Clinical Theory

General Information
Duration 1 semester (14 teaching weeks)
Level Year 1, Semester 2
Unit Weighting Unit Credit Points: 10 credit points
Total Course Credit Points: 320 credit points
Student Workload Number of timetabled hours per week: 4-8.5
Number of personal study hours per week: 1.5-6
Total workload hours per week: 10
Prerequisites/ Corequisites TCM103 Fundamental Theory of TCM, PRI104 Communication in Health
Academic Details
Description This unit provides students with an introduction to foundational knowledge and skills in TCM diagnosis. The unit covers the methods and procedures relevant to TCM clinical data collection, data organisation and interpretation and will assist in the disease diagnosis including identification of the disease and pattern of disharmony. Students will learn about the guiding principles of Chinese medicine diagnosis and the four primary data collection methods used in TCM diagnosis; methods of identification of patterns of disharmony; procedures for collecting diagnostic information; application of data collection and pattern identification; and case recording.

Additionally, this unit introduces Clinical Theory including treatment modality precautions and contraindications; introductory ethics; infection control procedures; and the principles of professional communication through a series of workshops. Students will be familiarised with all facets of the duty operation of a TCM clinic through supervised clinical practice and the observation of professionally qualified practitioners and senior student practitioners.

Students observe treatment procedures and learn about the skills required of a clinical assistant. In Clinical Theory students are taught to focus on the application of policies and procedures; hygiene; infection control; file management; communication skills. The importance of a commitment to appropriate reporting of adverse events when a patient displays an adverse reaction to treatment, the reporting of adverse events to Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA), and to ensure prompt transfer to medical services where necessary will be emphasised.

The desire to achieve excellence in the practice of acupuncture and/or Chinese herbal medicine and to contribute to improving both the quality of life of patients and the wellbeing of the community and the environment will be a key feature in the teaching and learning of this unit.

This unit includes 30 hours of level 1 clinical practice. At the beginning of this clinical observation practice, four orientation workshops will be conducted to give student all details of observe treatment procedures and learn about the skills required of a clinical assistant, including the application of policies and procedures; hygiene; infection control; file management; communication skills, as well as the procedure to appropriate reporting of adverse events and operation of safety of medicines (ACSOM) Blue Card System.

Learning outcomes Upon completion of Part 1 TCM Diagnosis for this unit students should be able to:

  1. Describe the fundamental principles of TCM diagnosis and explain the four data collection methods used in TCM diagnosis including inspection, auscultation and olfaction, interrogation and palpation, including tongue and pulse diagnosis;
  2. Evaluate the main symptoms, signs and the interrelations to the syndromes in TCM diagnosis.
  3. Define the concepts and interrelationships between symptom, signs syndrome, and disease.
  4. Evaluate the indications of Eight Principles, Internal Organs, Qi, Blood and Body Fluids, Six-meridians, Four Levels and Triple Burners theory respectively and their significances in respective applications in the identification of syndromes.
  5. Synthetically apply the TCM diagnostic methods to achieve TCM disease and syndrome diagnosis through case-history taking, and physical-examination conducting (including tongue and pulse diagnosis).

On completion of Part 2 Clinical Theory (CPP Level 1) students should be able to:

  1. Identify and apply relevant clinical policy and procedures, including requirements for informed consent; Describe the procedures of reporting a case of a suspected adverse reaction in association with herbs (1) through the online Australian Adverse Drug Reaction Reporting System, or (2) by completing a ‘Blue Card’; Demonstrate the ability to understand and practice infection control procedures, maintain personal hygiene and appropriate clinical attire in the Teaching Clinic;
  2. Demonstrate professionalism and its related values and ethics when interacting with patients, fellow students, and clinic supervisors; Apply the skills of active and attentive listening and professional communication; Demonstrate appropriate interactions with patients and privacy and confidentiality protection; and formulate an appropriate case record in a simulated setting; Fulfilling clinic tasks as CPP level 1 students (Beginner).
Unit requirement To successfully complete the unit, students must: attend 80% of all the lectures and tutorial classes plus 100% of clinic/workshop hours; attempt all assessment tasks including summative and formative assessments and achieve at least 50% of the total marks; achieve a mark of at least 40% in the final examination and at least 50% in Clinical Assessment.
Assessment Assessment 1: Clinic Practice Assessment 1 & 2 (20%, 10% for each)

Assessment 2: Class Exam (30%)

Assessment 3: Final examination (50%)

Prescribed text * The prescribed and recommended readings are subject to annual review.

Maciocia, G. (2015). The Foundations of Chinese Medicine (Third Edition): A Comprehensive Text. Edinburgh: Churchill Livingstone.

Kerridge, I. H., Lowe, M., & Stewart, C. (2013). Ethics and law for the health professions (4th ed.). Annandale, N.S.W.: The Federation Press.

Recommended readings Pit Clavey, S. (2003). Fluid physiology and pathology in traditional Chinese medicine (2nd ed.). New York: Churchill Livingstone.

Maciocia, G. (2004). Diagnosis in Chinese medicine: A comprehensive guide.Edinburgh: Churchill Livingstone. Edinburgh

Chinese Medicine Board of Australia,

Safety information, Department of Health and Ageing, Therapeutic Goods Administration:

NSW Government Health Department (2001).Skin Penetration – Code of Best Practice

NSW Government Health Department. (2008). Guidelines  on skin penetration

Patient Records Guidelines.

Higgs, J., Ajjawi, R., McAllister, L., Trede, F., & Loftus, S. (2008). Communicating in the health sciences. South Melbourne, Vic.: Oxford University Press. Kaptchuk, T. J. (2000). Chinese medicine: The web that has no weaver (Rev. ed.). London: Rider.

Maciocia, G. (1987). Tongue diagnosis in Chinese medicine. Seattle: Eastland Press.

Walsh, S., & King, E. (2008). Pulse diagnosis: A clinical guide. Edinburgh; New York: Churchill Livingstone Elsevier.

Wu X (Chief Ed). (1999) University Textbooks of Traditional Chinese Medicine for Overseas Advanced Students: Traditional Chinese Diagnostics. Beijing: People’s Medical Publishing House.