Clinical Supervision: How Supervisors Add Value

Baker, N.1,2, Kapur, L.2,3, Garner, J.2,3 & Lange, B.1,2

1 Caring Futures Institute, Flinders University, 2College of Nursing & Health Sciences, Flinders University, 3Rehabilitation, Aged & Palliative Care, SALHN, SA Health

 

Background and aims: Clinical supervision (CS) provides opportunities for personal, clinical and professional development and safe, quality outcomes for our patients. Multiple models and modes of CS offer paired or group supervision both intra- and inter-professionally. Content varies and encompasses the supervisee’s psychosocial wellbeing, clinical skills, leadership and career development. Supervisor expertise is essential to enhance clinician skills, knowledge and attitudes. This research explored the CS processes and outcomes relating to supervisor knowledge and skills in one Local Health Network.

Methods: Professional, clinical Allied Health staff attended focus groups to explore their perceptions and experiences of CS. Discussions were audio recorded, transcribed, analysed and coded by two to four researchers at each stage. Key themes were identified through discussion and consensus.

Results: Twenty-five clinicians from six Allied Health disciplines (dietetics, occupational therapy, speech pathology, social work, podiatry, physiotherapy) provided informed consent. Themes relating to the supervisor’s role within CS included: the interpersonal relationship of mutual respect and trust; availability and readiness to embrace informal and formal discussions; and skill level of the supervisor.

Conclusions: Supervisors add value to CS and facilitate clinicians’ development by gaining supervision skills through experiential, interactive training. The focus of supervising new graduate clinicians is on embedding and advancing clinical skills. With increasing clinician experience, the supervisor focus shifts to teamwork and facilitating others. As the supervisee develops into a senior clinician, the supervisor supports development of management and leadership skills.


Nicky Baker

Nicky Baker is a PhD student at Flinders University investigating stumbles and trips to prevent falls, something very relevant to her physiotherapy clinical background. Nicky also coordinates placements for final year Health Science students in a variety of health settings to provide authentic work integrated learning.

Nicky has 30 years physiotherapy clinical experience, leaving SALHN Rehabilitation, Aged and Palliative Care in 2019 to pursue full time academic study. Through her career she has held senior clinical roles in acute, rehabilitation and community settings. Highlights include the implementation of standardized aquatic physiotherapy training in the Victorian Chapter of Australian Physiotherapy Association, roll out of the South Australian State Stroke Plan at FMC, and implementing Electronic Medical Records and Telerehabilitation in Home Rehabilitation at SALHN.

Nicky is keen to keep research and clinical practice relevant by focusing always on the client, and modelling interprofessional practice and person centred care.

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