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Article << Previous     |     Next >>   Contents Vol 36(1)

Effective clinical supervision for regional allied health professionals – the supervisee’s perspective

Margaret Dawson A D , Bev Phillips A B and Sandra G. Leggat C

A Ballarat Health Services, 102 Ascot Street South, Ballarat, Vic. 3350, Australia. Email: bevph@bhs.org.au
B La Trobe Rural Health School, La Trobe University, Bendigo, Vic. 3552, Australia.
C School of Public Health, La Trobe University, Bundoora, Vic. 3086, Australia. Email: s.leggat@latrobe.edu.au
D Corresponding author. Email: margaretd@bhs.org.au

Australian Health Review 36(1) 92-97 http://dx.doi.org/10.1071/AH11006
Submitted: 3 February 2011  Accepted: 8 July 2011   Published: 24 February 2012

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Aim. Clinical supervision (CS) for health professionals supports quality clinical practice. This study explored current CS effectiveness for allied health professionals (AHPs) at a regional health service from a supervisee perspective and identified improvements.

Method. The Manchester Clinical Supervision Scale (MCSS) was completed by 30 supervisees to determine their perceptions of CS effectiveness.

Results. Supervision sessions typically occurred monthly (56.7%) and were one-to-one (86.2%). The mean total MCSS score was 142.83 (s.d. 15.73), greater than the reported threshold score of 136 for effective CS. The mean subscale scores of ‘trust/rapport’ and ‘improved care/skills’ were high, in contrast to the mean subscale scores for ‘finding time’ and ‘personal issues’, which were significantly lower than the other subscales (P < 0.001). Low scores for ‘finding time’ and ‘personal issues’ subscales may be associated with emotional exhaustion and depersonalisation.

Conclusions. In this first study evaluating CS for AHPs using the MCSS, CS was reported as being valued and important. However, there is a need for improvement in addressing personal issues that affect work performance and for finding time for CS. As effective CS is an important component of clinical governance by supporting safe and effective healthcare provision, it is vital that CS processes are improved.

What is known about the topic? There are reports on clinical supervision (CS) effectiveness for nurses, however, there is limited published information about CS for AHPs. Effective CS may enhance clinical skills, improve patient safety and support reflective practice and is a core component of clinical governance. The MCSS has been used to identify CS effectiveness in nurses; however, there have been no previous reports of its use with AHPs.

What does this paper add? This is the first study to use the MCSS for AHPs and identifies areas for improvement in CS, including scheduling and the need to more effectively address personal issues that affect work performance.

What are the implications for practitioners? Evaluating the effectiveness of CS in AHPs will lead to improved CS processes and therefore affect the quality of patient care. Effective CS may also affect the wellbeing and job satisfaction for AHPs.


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