A pilot of group clinical supervision for regional allied health professionals

Mr Marcus Gardner1,2, Ass Prof Carol McKinstry1, Dr  Byron Perrin1

1La Trobe Rural Health School , Bendigo , Australia, 2Bendigo Health, Bendigo, Australia

Introduction: Clinical supervision (CS) enhances professional support and quality of care for allied health.  However, there are challenges around access to quality CS, particularly in rural and regional settings.  Group CS is a model that can be used to improve access to CS and enhance peer learning and support.   The aim of this study was to evaluate the implementation of group CS for allied health professionals in a regional health service.

Methods: As part of an action research study, this study used a mixed methods design. Clinical supervision groups were piloted within a regional health service including a community service, inpatient mental health unit and allied health managers.  Three of the groups were multidisciplinary and one group was discipline-specific.  Group CS participants were surveyed using the Clinical Supervision Evaluation Questionnaire (CSEQ).  Facilitators of group CS participated in a focus group and data was analysed using content analysis methods.

Results: The CSEQ was completed by 16 participants (62% response rate). The mean total CSEQ score was 56.53 (S.D. 7.7) out of a possible score of 70. Ten individuals (63%) had a positive perception of group CS, 6 (37%) had a neutral perception and none (0%) had a negative perception.  Participant benefits included increased reflection, learning from multiple perspectives and peer support.  Overall focus group data indicated that facilitators were positive about the impact group of CS and supported its continuation and expansion to augment individual CS.  Factors that contributed to successful implementation included: organisational support; a structured, reflective model; and facilitator training.

Conclusion: Group CS was perceived to be effective and multidisciplinary groups were supported.  However, group CS should not be used to replace individual CS.  Interprofessional and cross-organisational models of group CS are strategies that could improve access to quality CS for allied health professionals in rural and regional settings.


Marcus is a PhD candidate with the La Trobe Rural Health School and his topic is what influences the effectiveness of clinical supervision for allied health professions.  Marcus has led a project to develop the Victorian Allied Health Clinical Supervision Framework and associated statewide training modules.   Marcus’ professional background is podiatry and he is currently the Manager of Allied Health Education at Bendigo Health.

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