Is clinical supervision effective for all the allied health professions? Findings from a Queensland mixed methods study suggest significant profession-specific differences

Dr Christine Saxby1,2, Professor Jill Wilson2, Associate Professor Peter  Newcombe2

1Community And Oral Health Directorate, Brighton, Australia, 2Faculty of Health and Behavioural Sciences, The University of Queensland, St Lucia, Australia

Current approaches to the implementation of clinical supervision in Australia recommend applying a standardised model across all health disciplines, including the different allied health professions (Fitzpatrick et al., 2012). Despite the uptake of this practice, there is minimal evidence comparing the experiences of allied health professionals utilising a common supervision model, nor whether the allied health professionals differ in their perceptions of supervision outcomes (Dawson et al., 2012). This mixed methods study investigated whether there were any profession-specific differences in supervision effectiveness of an implemented clinical supervision model applied across several community-based allied health professions (n=108).

The study was conducted adopting an explanatory sequential design (Creswell & Plano Clark, 2011), whereby a quantitative study was followed by a qualitative study. Data was collected at 8 and 12 months post-implementation of structured clinical supervision. Responses were gathered using the revised Manchester Clinical Supervision Scale, MCSS-26 (Winstanley & White, 2011) and focus group discussions. Data was separately analysed and interpreted, and then integrated to respond to the study’s research question. Participants included eight different allied health professional groups with the professions of social work, occupational therapy and physiotherapy together comprising over 70% of all respondents.

Overall, the group’s mean score (M=73.23, SD=14.70) for supervision effectiveness was not significantly different to the published MCSS-26 efficacy threshold score of 73, t <1 (Winstanley & White, 2011). Also, the total group’s overall mean score did not differ from the benchmarked norms for allied health (M=74.4, SD=11.00), t <1 (Winstanley & White, 2011). However, both Study 1 and Study 2 findings revealed significant profession-specific differences in supervision effectiveness. Most notably, physiotherapy as a group (M=60.63, SD=16.07), differed significantly from the MCSS-26 published norm for allied health, t (7) =   -2.48, p=.042). Whilst focus group findings showed many similarities across the professions regarding supervision barriers and enhancers, responses also highlighted important differences, including perceived supervisor confidence in providing professional support. These findings suggest that clinical supervision implementation design considers the needs of all allied health professional groups in the application of a common supervision model. The presentation will detail the research findings, implications and recommendations for practice.


Christine is an Allied Health Educator within the Community and Oral Health Education Team. Prior to this role, Christine worked as a senior social worker across several practice domains. In 2016, Christine completed a PhD at the University of Queensland. Her area of research was clinical supervision effectiveness, burnout and intent to leave in allied health staff. Christine has several supervision publications and has been an invited journal and book reviewer. Christine has an adjunct lecturer title with the University of Queensland, School of Nursing, Midwifery and Social Work. Christine’s current interest is in improving health outcomes through the provision of inter-professional education for health care workers.

Breaking the Silence: Exploring responses to Domestic and Family Violence in Clinical Practice

Mr Angel Carrasco1, A/Prof Kathleen Baird1

1Gold Coast Health, Southport, Australia

Allied Health Clinicians are often at the front face of health services providing direct clinical support, counselling and specialist referral to women experiencing domestic and family violence (DFV). This presentation explores a qualitative research project that was undertaken at Gold Coast Health investigating the various approaches and responses to domestic and family violence used by clinicians in direct clinical practice from the perspective of a range of health care workers including allied health clinicians. Clinical staff employed at the relevant departments of a large, tertiary hospital were invited to participate in semi-structured interviews which were recorded, and transcribed. These transcripts were then read by two individual researchers and coded for themes and subthemes using an inductive and iterative approach inherent in the grounded theory methodology (Creswell, 1998). Six major themes emerged from the data as being of particular relevance to clinicians working in the area of DFV. These themes were (1) ‘Training and education’ for staff; (2) ‘Resources and support’ for people experiencing  DFV; (3) ‘Perceptions and attitudes’ of both patients and staff regarding DFV; (4) ‘Organisational approach to patient care’; (5) ‘protocols and guidelines’; and (6) ‘Patient safety’. These themes within clinical practice, along with other pertinent issues and recommendations described by participants, will be discussed in this presentation. This research obtained HREC approval by the GCHHS HREC Committee.


Angel Carrasco is Director of Social Work and Support Services at Gold Coast Health and was instrumental in establishing the first Domestic and Family Violence Co-ordinator (Advanced Social Worker) role in Queensland Health.

Supporting the provision of evidence-based care – developing a national ACS capability framework

Bianca Miras1, Dr Karen Page2, Prof David  Brieger3

1Alfred Health, Caulfield, Australia, 2National Heart Foundation of Australia, Melbourne, Australia, 3Concord Hospital, Sydney, Australia

The provision of safe quality patient care depends on the capability of the health service. The National ACS Capability Framework outlines health system requirements needed to implement evidence-based patient-centred care articulated in the ACS clinical guidelines and new Clinical Care Standard.

The framework’s purpose is to ensure there is capability to deliver evidence-based care for those experiencing an ACS event no matter where they live in Australia. This paper provides an overview of the framework development; the model and service categories; and implementation strategies.

An expert consensus approach facilitated by the Heart Foundation was used to develop the framework. Extensive consultation and a comprehensive literature review were undertaken to inform an expert roundtable discussion, which identified content and format for the resource.

Expert consensus was reached on the following key elements:

  1. A framework model organised into service categories that reflect the key components of ACS care and system linkages. Four service categories, including one pre-hospital and three in-hospital care categories, which reflect the type of health facilities that receive patients with chest pain and/or symptoms suggesting ACS.
  2. Health system requirements for service categories outlining recommended services, workforce, support services and linkages necessary to deliver care to patients with varying degrees of complexity.

The capability framework, for launch in August 2015, will support the implementation of the ACS Clinical Care Standard. It will be an invaluable advocacy tool recommending system requirements that are practical and achievable.


To be confirmed

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