Issues in Supervision

Judith Brasseur, Ph.D.

California State University-Chico

Jerry Carney, Ph.D.

University of Tennessee

Barbara Solomon, Ph.D.

Purdue University



When we first discussed our format for this session, we, Judy, Barbara and me, agreed that first: we wanted to have a dialogue and second: we wanted to insure that all of us, especially you identified and shared solutions to these issues in supervision. If you don’t participate, this session dies a quick and painless death.

All of us agree that supervision plays a major role in the education of our students. Each of us have encountered some of the issues we have identified in the handout and someone may have previously faced this problem and already developed a unique solution. If we share that information, it should be useful in that part of our lives we call administration.

A word of caution, because our programs are so diverse, rarely will any one issue have only one solution. For example, bridging the academic/ practicum gap will be entirely different in those programs where faculty have supervisory responsibilities and those programs where faculty do not supervise. The purpose of this session is not to debate the merits of the two different types of programs, but to share how we have solved the problem of communication in both types of programs.

So, in one sense, we’ve done the easy part --- "Identified the Issues"; we hope you’ll join with us now and develop, but more importantly, share your solutions. Barbara will get us started by briefly reviewing the Issues in Supervision which follow and then Judy will conduct the solution discussions.

Supervisory Issues

Supervisor Issues

_ Recruitment/retention of supervisors, (in particular, due to personnel shortages, downsizing, and corporate salaries)

_ Flexible work environment (Part-time, full time, variety of SLPs in Specialization Areas)

_ Supervision, Administration, Teaching, Research Responsibilities

_ Maintaining "mental/physical" health – critical to balance work and play

_ Position within the Department: (Title, Promotions, and Job Security)

_ Participation in Departmental Governance:





_ Providing continuing education and keeping Supervisors current

_ Important to model appropriate professionalism and clinical skills.

_ Providing appropriate equipment

_ Developing attitudes of "working smarter and faster"

_ Reimbursement issues not limited to salaries

_ Developing supervisory skills in novice supervisors (Mentoring/shadowing works)

_ Clinical/supervisory loads for students and supervisors

_ Shared development of supervisory competencies (university and off-site programs)

_ Courses/Education in supervision – Job knowledge is important

Student Issues

_ Grade Inflation

_ Academically Superior and Clinically Marginal Student

_ Sequencing Academic and Clinical Educational Activities

_ Developing/managing the emotionally challenged student, preparing ourselves for litigation

_ Student's needs/rights versus client's needs/rights

_ Twenty hours or one hour twenty times

_ Collaboration/partnerships between universities, and health care/educational settings

_ Student fatigue

_ Student expectations

_ Students with disabilities

_ Prerequisites

_ Admission Standards for Graduate Students

_ Process versus skills orientation in clinical education

_ Reentry students

_ Emphasis Curriculum vs. General Curriculum

_ Professional Issues Coursework: (Managed Care, CQI, Paradigm Shifts, Customer Satisfaction, Teams, Collaboration, Risk Management, Ethics, Supervision, Support Personnel, Leadership-Administration-Marketing, and much more)

_ Set reasonable standards so that the quantity and quality of the work is what you and your patients expect

Financial Issues



Creating a "Real World" Environment

_ Report writing

_ Generating the "excitement" of the Professions

_ Documentation

_ "Care Maps"/CQI activities

_ Multidisciplinary teams experience

_ Maintain your sense of humor

_ Outcome Assessment

Professional Issues

_ Dynamic scope of practice

_ Changing attitudes of higher education

_ Managing litigation

_ Need for Documentation: Write it Down! Keep Good Records.

_ Supervision of speech-language pathology assistants

_ Impact of the AuD on supervision

_ Competency based preparation

_ Decrease in Ph.D.s



This group selected Outcome Measures for the Supervisory Process as the issue they wanted to discuss. They posed the question, "How much supervision is necessary to produce a competent clinician?" There was general consensus that some preparation of supervisors is important. Being a competent clinician or having a certain number of years experience as a clinician does not insure that an individual will have the distinct skills and expertise needed to function as a supervisor.

There was a great deal of discussion about what is "The Best" model of supervision, which led the Group I to decide that a variety of models should be investigated to decide which model(s) is(are) best for a particular level of supervisee (e.g., beginning student clinician, graduate student with 200+ hours in an off-campus internship, Clinical Fellow, experienced clinician beginning to work with new kinds of cases/disorders, etc.). Group I recommended testing the efficacy of the following models, with different levels of supervisees:




This group selected the "Academically Superior/Clinically Marginal Student" as their issue. Many agreed that this is more prevalent today than in previous year, probably for a few reasons. One, many undergraduate programs have eliminated undergraduate practica, thus making it difficult to assess clinical potential prior to admitting students into graduate programs. Second, with the high number of applicants competing for places in graduate programs where they did not earn their baccalaureate degrees, some candidates may look outstanding "on paper" while lacking the interpersonal skills necessary to be effective clinicians. Third, to avoid the risk of litigation, many faculty are reluctant to write boldly honest letters of recommendation particularly with regard to nebulous qualities such a "personality".

Group II identified the following possible solutions: