Deakin University
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Public sector physiotherapists believe that staff supervision should be broad ranging, individualised, structured, and based on needs and goals: a qualitative study

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journal contribution
posted on 2015-10-01, 00:00 authored by A A Redpath, Stephen GillStephen Gill, N Finlay, F Brennan, S Hakkennes
QUESTION: What do physiotherapists consider to be the structure and content of an effective clinical supervision program for public sector staff? DESIGN: Qualitative study using emergent-systematic focus group design. PARTICIPANTS: 46 physiotherapists and six physiotherapy assistants from a large, regional, Australian health service participated in one of seven focus groups. RESULTS: Data were represented by three major categories: the content of supervision; the structure of supervision; and participants' roles and attributes. The content of supervision should encompass all issues affecting workplace experience and performance; supervision should be individualised and needs based. For the structure of supervision, a variety of methods and formats should be available, including: scheduled and unscheduled supervision (unscheduled supervision addresses needs as they arise but its usefulness can be restricted by supervisor availability); the environment should be organised to facilitate supervision; supervision should be integrated into existing practices; and supervision should be adequately prioritised and resourced to enable sustainability. In relation to participants' roles and attributes, respondents recommended: clearly defined supervisor and supervisee roles, responsibilities, skills and attributes are required to facilitate a constructive relationship on which successful supervision depends; the supervisee should take primary responsibility for leading and organising their supervision; the supervisor provides support and accountability and assists with goal setting and attainment; and successful supervision requires considerable knowledge and skills from the supervisee and supervisor (supervision education and training might be necessary). CONCLUSION: The physiotherapists' perspectives that were identified in this study are important to consider when assessing current clinical supervision models, as well as when designing and implementing effective physiotherapy supervision programs.



Journal of physiotherapy






210 - 216




Amsterdam, The Netherlands







Publication classification

C1.1 Refereed article in a scholarly journal; C Journal article

Copyright notice

2015, Elsevier B.V.