Modes of supervision for student placements in rural and remote settings

Supervision sessions are a vital component of a student clinical education placement. It is important to discuss with the student how supervision will occur during the placement. This helps the student to plan, and reinforces that their learning in the clinical setting is a priority for you.

Considerations specific to a rural and remote setting can include:

  • Frequency:  will you always be in the same location?  Will you/your student be travelling to outreach services
  • Modality:  will you have face-to-face meetings or will you need to consider other modalities (eg. video/teleconferencing) if you are not based at the same service?
  • Supervision:  who can your student contact if you are attending an outreach service with limited reception?

More information on Placement Models and approaches to supervision

Peer Support 

Final year speech pathology students from Charles Sturt University identified their peers as one of the top ten resources for clinical education (2013). The benefits of peer relationships included developing ‘communities of practice’, increased support of learning and it provided an opportunity to debrief about clinical experiences. 

Peer-support system ‘buddy system’

Consider setting up a buddy system. This involves pairing students to enhance students’ learning and provide additional support during the clinical placement.

Some options to consider when pairing students:

  • More experienced student with less experienced student
  • Students in different locations (e.g. student in a rural area with a student in a regional area)
  • Students at the placement at the same time

Practical resources and tools to set up a Buddy System


  • Health Education and Training Institute (2012). The Superguide: a handbook for supervising allied health professionals. HETI, Sydney.
  • Top 10 resources for Clinical Education (2013). Journal of Clinical Practice in Speech-Language Pathology 15(2), 107-108.
  • Martin, P. & Tyack, Z. (2012). A Queensland example of the student buddy system: ‘A step closer’ – the student buddy system implemented in Central Queensland. SARRAH conference presentation.


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