Achieving effective clinical allied health supervision

Ms Priya Martin1, Dr Saravana Kumar1, Dr Lucylynn Lizarondo2

1University of South Australia, Adelaide, Australia, 2University of Adelaide, Adelaide, Australia



Clinical supervision (CS) is an ongoing professional support process between a supervisor and supervisee undertaken to also promote healthcare safety and quality. CS has a wide-ranging impact including benefits to practitioners, patients and organisations. There is a lack of research on factors that lead to effective and high quality CS in allied health, especially in non-metropolitan areas. This study will address this gap.


Using a mixed methods sequential explanatory design, a quantitative method (administration of the Manchester Clinical Supervision Scale) was first applied followed by a qualitative method (individual interviews). Both primary and secondary research (systematic review) were undertaken to answer the research questions.


The study conducted with 207 occupational therapists in Queensland indicated that frequency of supervision, choice of supervisor and type of supervision had a positive influence on the quality of CS. Age, length of supervision and area of practice were found to have a negative influence on the quality of CS. This has provided the impetus for expanding the research to other allied health professions. The systematic review has highlighted eight factors relevant to supervisee characteristics, supervision characteristics and technological considerations that promote effective CS.

Significance of findings to AH

This is the first study that brings together primary and secondary research evidence on factors that lead to effective and high quality CS in allied health. Knowledge about factors that improve the quality of CS is expected to enhance the quality of supervision undertaken by allied health professionals, thereby enhancing healthcare safety and quality.