Considerations for novice supervisors

Often the transition from ‘new graduate’ to ‘student supervisor’ occurs in the first two years of practice. First-time supervisors, therefore, may feel apprehensive and lack confidence as they consider that they do not know enough yet themselves to start teaching others.

Key areas essential for novice student supervisors:

  • A thorough understanding of your workplace’s values, expectations and services.
  • Demonstrated self-management, management in the workplace and profession-specific skills.
  • Commitment and engagement in professional development and being a reflective practitioner.
  • Workplace support from other student supervisors and the university seeking the placement.
  • Workload management to allow for time spent in the supervisor role.

Strategies for novice student supervisors include:

  • Complete clinical education training or other professional development.
  • Manage your workload and clear any backlog of work prior to student commencement - free up as much time as possible to spend with students while they are there and where possible plan for this time.
  • Reflect on the learning experiences and opportunities you can offer that address university and student learning goals and expectations for the placement. 
  • Consider projects or innovations that students could complete if caseload is limited.
  • Collate or update a resource folder of learning and teaching tools that you could use during the placement.
  • Reflect on your own student supervision experiences to think about your goals as a student supervisor during the placement.
  • Consider using a shared supervision model with an experienced student supervisor, to assist in your professional development and to grow your confidence in the supervisory role.
  • Engage in a mentoring relationship that focuses on your development as a student supervisor.
  • Complete a journal, or critical incident reflection log to support your reflective practice about the student supervisor role.
  • Engage in a network or community of student supervisors for peer support and learning.

Remember, to be an effective student supervisor you do not have to be an expert in every aspect of your scope of practice. What you do need is the ability to model problem-solving and critical thinking, so that you can facilitate student learning.


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