Validation of a new psychometric tool for assessing the competencies of clinical supervisors

Ms Sarah Hamilton1, Professor  Analise  O’Donovan2, Assoicate Professor Lynne  Briggs3, Dr    Maddy Slattery4

1School of Human Services and Social Work Griffith University, Brisbane , Australia, 2Dean Health Group Griffith University , Brisbane, Australia, 3School of Human Services and Social Work Griffith University , Gold Coast , Australia, 4School of Human Services and Social Work Griffith University , Brisbane , Australia

Across the allied health professions there is acknowledgement that access to clinical supervision is an essential prerequisite for ensuring effective service delivery. Although research in this field has expanded rapidly over the past decade, disagreement remains on the minimum. competencies and training needs of clinical supervisors. Furthermore, the psychometric tools that are currently available for assessing supervisors’ competencies in one tool, capture multiple perspectives, or have not been validated by a large and diverse workforce and/or do not require independent third-party validation. To address these gaps, our interprofessional team developed and psychometrically validated the Generic Supervision Assessment Tool (GSAT). The GSAT has 32 competency items and was designed to enable supervisors, supervisees and third-party assessors to assess the core competencies of clinical supervisors. Initially we designed the GSAT questionnaire in SurveyMonkey and sent it to multiple professionals in Australia and New Zealand. A total of 479 supervisors and 447 supervisees from 12 different professions in Australia and New Zealand completed the GSAT survey. Statistical analyses were conducted in SPSS and R statistical software, with results from factor analysis confirming that the GSAT has four competency subsets (Feedback and Reflective Practice, Supervisory Alliance, Professional Practice and Goals and Tasks). Analyses confirmed that the GSAT has strong internal and external reliability.  The second component of our research involves third party observation with assessors watching videos of a supervision session and scoring each supervisors competency against the GSAT.  Based on previous research of this nature, this stage of the research is expected to highlight differences between how supervisors, supervises and third parties evaluate supervisors’ competencies. The second stage is also expected to further demonstrate the purpose of the GSAT as a generic clinical tool which can be used to optimise supervisory reflection, identify strengths and areas for further supervisory training supports.


Sarah Hamilton is the State-wide Allied Health Professional Practice Leader – Social Work for Mental Health and Addiction Services Queensland Health. Sarah has 20 years of experience in mental health service provision, clinical education, supervision, leadership, management, policy and research in New Zealand and Australia. Sarah has a specific interest in the areas of scope of practice, research and supervision. She is currently completing a PhD in clinical supervision competencies through the School of Human Services and Social Work at Griffith University.

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