Characteristics of effective student supervisors

One of the most important factors in providing quality clinical education placements is the relationship between the student and the supervisor.

Characteristics of supervisors that enable effective supervision include:

  • the ability to form positive relationships and rapport with students
  • the ability to demonstrate clinical competence
  • being organised
  • being a good communicator
  • possessing strong leadership and management skills
  • acting as a role model who displays enthusiasm and a passion for learning
  • consistent and transparent assessment procedures.

(Siggins Miller Consultants, 2012, p.9)


Some additional specific characteristics of effective student supervisors include:

  • Being available
  • being aware of their students' capabilities and limits
  • being respectful
  • having clear and consistent expectations
  • having a motivating and positive attitude
  • being reflective
  • being empathic and understanding
  • being actively involved
  • being encouraging
  • being welcoming
  • providing detailed orientation
  • having a graded program of learning
  • providing modeling and opportunities for practice
  • providing quality feedback
  • having an open and honest relationship.

(Health Education and Training Institute, 2012, p.28)

In this video, two students discuss the characteristics and practices of supervisors they have experienced.




  • Health Education and Training Institute (2012). The superguide: a handbook for supervising allied health professionals. HETI, Sydney.
  • Rodger, S., Fitzgerald, C., Davila, W., Millar, F. and Allison, H. (2011). What makes a quality occupational therapy practice placement? Students' and practice educators' perspectives. Australian Occupational Therapy Journal, 58 3: 195-202.
  • Siggins Miller Consultants. (2012). Promoting quality in clinical placements: Literature review and national stakeholder consultation. HWA, Adelaide.



HWA National Clinical Supervision Competency Resource

HWA National Clinical Supervision Competency Resource
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