Speech Pathology


Speech Pathology Australia binds each member to “Continually update and extend our professional knowledge and skills…” (Speech Pathology Australia, 2010) and “the Association views student supervision as a professional responsibility and strongly encourages members of the profession to embrace the benefits of student supervision in terms of the development, expansion and indeed the future viability of the profession” (Speech Pathology Australia, 2005).

Therefore, many practitioners feel a responsibility or obligation to the profession to take on the role of clinical educator. However, becoming a clinical educator can also provide a number of benefits. You can grow and learn through the experience of having students – developing your clinical, communication, supervision and leadership skills. Some of the positive motivations for becoming a clinical educator include:

  • continuing your learning by keeping you up to date with theories and evidence
  • opportunity to reflect and explore your understanding of your own practice (e.g. explaining your conceptual maps integrating theory and practice can consolidate your understanding and interpretation)
  • develops your clinical reasoning skills
  • professional development of your clinical educator and professional supervision skills as well as interpersonal and communication skills
  • personal satisfaction of facilitating student learning and development
  • students can share your workload and/or offer additional services
  • students can undertake research, quality assurance, literature reviews
  • students can offer a different perspective or provide a sounding board to explore ideas
  • students can develop resources or complete projects that you would like done
  • students can bring a new energy to your existing team
  • eligibility for continuing education or professional development accreditation points and career progression enhancement
  • continuing relationship or connection with universities which may involve tangible rewards such as access to professional development, university library access, opportunities to participate in coursework teaching and research.

This list was compiled from: Bay and Courtney (2013, p.363); James Cook University (2011); McAllister and Lincoln (2004, p.27-28); QOTFC (2007); Thomas et al. (2007) 


Code of Ethics

The Code of Ethics recognises that participating in clinical education is important for the development of our profession (Section 3.3.6). We need to provide appropriate supervision for students and ensure that students under our supervision are familiar with, and apply our Code of Ethics. We need to ensure students work within their level of clinical competence and demonstrate ethical practice. As part of the supervision role we need to discuss ethical practice to facilitate the student’s ethical reasoning skills (Section 3.3.4).


Position Statement

Speech Pathology Australia has published a position statement on clinical education: Clinical Education - The importance and value for the speech pathology profession, which is available at this link. The document discusses the issues in clinical education, Speech Pathology Australia’s position and suggests strategies for meeting the challenges identified. Professor Alison Ferguson has written an attachment on models of clinical education.


Assessing a student on placement

The competency-based occupational standards (CBOS) document details the minimum skills, knowledge and professional standards required for entry-level practice in speech pathology in Australia. The CBOS was revised in 2011 to reflect changes in the scope of practice of speech pathologists and work contexts.

COMPASS: Competency Assessment in Speech Pathology is the assessment tool used to assess the clinical performance of speech pathology students on placement. The assessment is available online and in paper format. Speech Pathology Australia provides information and resources for clinical educators to understand the assessment process:

COMPASS®: Competency Assessment in Speech Pathology

COMPASS® Resources



References and suggested readings

Speech Pathology Australia (2018)  Clinical Education in Australia:  Building a Profession for the future.  Accessed November 2018 here

The Journal of Clinical Practice in Speech-Language Pathology Volume 15(2) (2013) focused on clinical education. The issue presented some excellent articles on clinical education models, practical strategies for developing effective reflective practice, case examples and strategies to support students to develop their ethical reasoning, and frameworks for managing ethical dilemmas.

Attrill, S., Lincoln, M., & McAllister, S. (2012). Student diversity and implications for clinical competency development amongst domestic and international speech-language pathology students. International Journal of Speech-Language Pathology, 14(3), 260–270.

Bay, U. and Courtney, M. (2013). You Become the Supervisor. In K. Stagnitti, A. Schoo, & D. Welch (Eds.), Clinical and fieldwork placements in the health professions (2nd ed) (pp. 355-347). Melbourne, Victoria: Oxford University Press.

Briffa, C. & Porter, J. (2013). A systematic review of the collaborative clinical education model to inform speech-language pathology practice. International Journal of Speech-Language Pathology, 1-11.

Ho, D. & Whitehill, T. (2009). Clinical supervision of speech-language pathology students: Comparison of two models of feedback.International Journal of Speech-Language Pathology, 11(3), 244–255.

James Cook University (2011). Workplace Educators Resource Package

Lincoln , M. , & McCabe , P . (2005). Values, necessity and the mother of invention in clinical education. International Journal of Speech-Language Pathology, 7, 153-157 .

Lincoln, M., Ferguson, A., McAllister, L., & McAllister, S. (2008). Benchmarking clinical learning in speech pathology to support assessment, discipline standards, teaching innovation and student learning. Report prepared for The Australian Learning and Teaching Council, Part 1, June 2008. Retrieved 10 October, 2013, from http://www.olt.gov.au/resource-benchmarking-clinical-learning-in-speech-pathology-sydney-2008

McAllister, L. (2005). Issues and innovations in clinical education. International Journal of Speech-Language Pathology, 7(3), 138–148.

McAllister, L., & Lincoln, M. (2004). Clinical education in speech language pathology. London: Whurr Publishers.

McAllister, S., Lincoln, M., Ferguson, A., & McAllister, L. (2011). A systematic program of research regarding the assessment of speech-language pathology competencies. International Journal of Speech-Language Pathology, 13, 469–479.

Speech Pathology Australia (2010). Code of Ethics.

Speech Pathology Australia (2005). Position Statement Clinical Education - The importance and value for the speech pathology profession.

Sheepway, L., Lincoln, M. & Togher, L. (2011). An international study of clinical education practices in speech-language pathology. International Journal of Speech-Language Pathology, 13(2), 174–185.

Stansfield, J. (2005). Issues and innovations in clinical education: Regulation, collaboration and communication. International Journal of Speech-Language Pathology, 7(3), 173–176.



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