Table of Contents1. Introduction .32. Significant of a Professional Supervision Framework for Occupational Therapy .43. Professional Drivers for Supervision .54. Professional Supervision: Definition, purpose and core concepts.75. Supervision Terminology .86. Benefits of Professional Supervision .97. Current Professional Supervision Practices: An Overview . 108. Guiding Principles for Supervision in Occupational Therapy . 129. Effective Professional Supervision: Enablers . 1310. Qualities and Skills of an Effective Supervisor . 1711. The Role of the Line Manager. Supervisor, and Supervisee in Supervision . 1812. Delivery Formats of Supervision . 2013. Supervision Models . 2214. Supervision Parameters (Duration, Frequency) . 2715. Supervision Documentation: Agreement and Records . 2816. When Supervision is Restricted or Unavailable . 3017. Evaluation of Supervision . 3418. Recommended Resources . 3619. Future, Directions & Recommendations . 3720. Summary . 38References. 39APPENDIX 1 Template Supervision Agreement: Example . 43APPENDIX 2 Template Supervision Record: Example . 46OCCUPATIONAL THERAPY AUSTRALIA (2019)2

1. IntroductionThe Professional Supervision Framework: Outlines the professional and regulatory expectations of professional supervision of qualified occupationaltherapists. Identifies ‘best practice’ professional supervision models, processes, and practices within thecontemporary Australian, international, and related disciplinary contexts. Establishes the basis for the development of advanced and extended scopes of occupational therapyprofessional supervision practices. Recommends strategies to evaluate professional supervision practices for the purpose of qualityimprovement and service development.Research behind The Framework:A thematic analysis of ‘best practice’ professional supervision was conducted following: A systematic search of data bases, including MEDLINE, CINAHL, EMBASE, AMED (Allied andComplementary Medicine Database), and CDSR (Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews). Prioritywas given to international, peer-reviewed, allied health research publications on clinical or professionalsupervision with a publication date of 2012 onwards. National and international occupational therapyspecific publications on professional supervision, was however, included from the year 2000 onwardsgiven the scarcity of literature in this category. Manual search of relevant journals within the last year, i.e. The Clinical Supervisor, and CounsellorEducation and Supervision. Pearling of the reference lists of eligible studies (secondary searching) to identify any additional studies.Research publications with a focus on student supervision were excluded from the searches. Findings werethen augmented with international and national allied health professional guidelines for supervision, andpublished government department documents, such as the National Clinical Supervision CompetencyResource (Health Workforce Australia, 2014).OCCUPATIONAL THERAPY AUSTRALIA (2019)3

2. Significance of a Professional Supervision Framework forOccupational TherapyOccupational Therapy Australia (OTA) is the professional association for occupational therapists in Australia.One of its aims is to develop and maintain excellence across the scope of professional occupational therapypractice. As part of its commitment in promoting quality services, OTA released a position paper in 2017,‘Occupational Therapy Scope of Practice Framework’ that outlined occupational therapists’ responsibility “toensure currency of practice, registration, and contemporary professional knowledge by seeking appropriateprofessional supervision, training and professional development to maintain practice within the scope ofpractice” (p.6).The Scope of Practice Framework (OTA, 2017) espoused the need for a national professional supervisionframework to underpin scope of practice. A national framework for professional supervision will provide: Agreement on the descriptors of what is, and what constitutes professional supervision, and itsparameters for effective practice (such as content, frequency and duration). Guidelines on ‘best practice’ supervision that can inform practitioners, managers, employers, serviceusers, regulatory agencies, funding bodies, policy makers and others. Recommendations for extended scope of professional supervision, where supervision practices mayoccur in a range of settings (i.e. regional and remote, National Disability Insurance Scheme, hostsettings), are performed by other health professionals (inter-professional supervision) and use alternativeformats of supervision (i.e. peer or group supervision). Recommendations for development and practice pathways for the future.By developing and implementing this resource, it is hoped that practitioners engaging in supervisionprocesses will gain an understanding of the challenges associated with good supervision and have anaccessible resource to relevant information and strategies about this practice. In addition, such a resourcecould also be utilised beyond staff supervision practices as a reference point for increasing knowledge onstudent supervision.The Occupational Therapy Australia Professional Supervision Framework will be regularly revised to reflectcurrent needs, knowledge and research to include new areas of activity for occupational therapists inAustralia.OCCUPATIONAL THERAPY AUSTRALIA (2019)4

3. Professional Drivers for SupervisionFor occupational therapists in Australia the mandate and expectations of supervision are reinforced by: The Australian Occupational Therapy Professional Code of Conduct (March 2014). The codestipulates that:o“Teaching, supervising and mentoring practitioners (and students) is important for thedevelopment of practitioners and for the care of patients or clients. It is part of good practice tocontribute to these activities, and provide support, assessment, feedback and supervision forcolleagues ”(p. 5).o“Maintaining and developing knowledge, skills and professional behaviour are core aspects ofgood practice. This requires self-reflection and participation in relevant professionaldevelopment, practice improvement and performance-appraisal processes to continuallydevelop professional capabilities” (p. 18).(Occupational Therapy Board of Australia, Code of Conduct, es-Guidelines/Code-of-conduct.aspx) The Australian Occupational Therapy Competency Standards (2018) outline professional behavioursall occupational therapists should demonstrate to practise safely and ethically. According to thestandards, an occupational therapist:oIdentifies and uses relevant professional and operational support and supervision (p. 6).oContributes to education and professional practice development of peers and students (p. 6).oSeeks and responds to feedback, modifying communication and/or practice accordingly (p. 9).(Occupational Therapy Board of Australia, Australian occupational therapy competency standards des-Guidelines/Competencies.aspx) The National Safety and Quality Health Service (NSQHS) Standards (2017) require thato“The workforce has the right qualifications, skills and supervision to provide safe, high qualityhealth care to patients” (p.4).o“The health service organisation provides supervision for clinicians to ensure that they can safelyfulfil their designated roles, including access to after-hours advice, where appropriate” (p.11).Australian Commission on Safety and Quality in Health Care vice-Standards-second-edition.pdf The Occupational Therapy Australia Code of Ethics (2014) states that:o“Members have an individual responsibility to maintain their own level of professionalcompetence and each must strive to improve and update knowledge and skills” (p.6).oSupervision is an important strategy in assisting occupational therapists to meet theirprofessional obligations. Occupational Therapy Board of Australia (2014). ‘Supervision Guidelines for Occupational Therapy’.oThese guidelines were developed for occupational therapists holding limited registration orregistration with conditions and do not intend to cover the supervision for professionaldevelopment purposes. Professional development is an important formative function ofprofessional supervision. Hence the Board’s guidelines do not sufficiently support professionalsupervision for all occupational therapist.OCCUPATIONAL THERAPY AUSTRALIA (2019)5

In addition to national professional standards, certain Australian states have their own specific guidelines onthe conduct of allied health professional supervision, notably (but not inclusively): NSW: The Superguide - A Handbook for supervising Allied Health Professionals. Health Education andTraining Institute, NSW Government (2014). professionals/ Queensland: Department of Health: Guideline for Credentialing, Defining the Scope of Clinical Practiceand Professional Support for Allied Health Professionals (2015).https://www.health.qld.gov.au/ data/assets/pdf file/0021/155505/qh-hsdgdl-034-1.pdf; South Australia: Allied Health Clinical Support Framework ct/ad788900438bd2b689308dfd37f1549d/ASH Clin Super Framework 2014.pdf?MOD AJPERES&CACHEID ad788900438bd2b689308dfd37f1549d Victoria: Clinical Supervision Guidelines - Enhanced Maternal and Child Health Program. State ofVictoria, Department of Education and Training pervisionEnhancedMCH2018.pdf Western Australia: Foundations to Supervision, WA Country Health Service Combined UniversitiesCentre for Rural Health dmin/sections/allied health/WACHS G AH FoundationsToSupervision.pdfOCCUPATIONAL THERAPY AUSTRALIA (2019)6

4. Professional Supervision: Definition, Purpose, and Core Concepts4.1. Definition and purposeProfessional supervision is defined as a process “designed to support staff as they seek to promote thegoals of the organisation and to advance their professional du/supervision.htm).In ‘Supervision guidelines for occupational therapy’, the Occupational Therapy Board of Australia definesprofessional supervision as “a formal process of professional support and learning which enables apractitioner (supervisee) to develop knowledge and competence, assume responsibility for their ownpractice, and enhance public protection and safety” (Occupational Therapy Board of Australia, 2014, p.2).Thus, the primary aim of professional supervision is to promote optimal care, safety, and well-being forservice users in accordance with organisations’ and professional standards (College of OccupationalTherapists, 2015; Fitzpatrick et al., 2012).The secondary purpose of the supervision process is to provide duty of care for staff by creating safe andsupportive opportunities to engage in critical reflection in order to raise issues, explore problems, anddiscover new ways of handling both the situation and oneself(http://www.rico.com.au/training/life skills/supervision.htm).4.2. Core concepts of professional supervisionAlthough there are variations in the definitions offered by different professional organisations, common coreconcepts can be extrapolated in terms of: Foundations: A collaborative, professional relationship based on trust, safety, and rapport Aims: To ensure safe and ‘best practice’ service provision for service users; to improve, develop, andsupport the supervisee Focus: The supervisee’s practice, professional & personal development, and well-being Essential components: Reflections, critical feedback, problem solving, and discussions (of career goalsand personal development plans)(Allan et al., 2017; Australian Association of Social Workers Supervision Standards, 2014; College ofOccupational Therapists, 2015; Egan et al., 2016; Fitzpatrick et al., 2012; Leggat et al., 2016).OCCUPATIONAL THERAPY AUSTRALIA (2019)7

5. Supervision TerminologyThe terms most commonly used in the literature include managerial supervision, clinical supervision, andprofessional supervision. While some overlap may occur, activities subsumed under managerial supervisionare commonly associated with performance reviews, conformance with organizational accountability, anddelivery of specific organisational outcomes (Care Quality Commission, 2013; Egan et al., 2016; Lambley &Marrable, 2013; Leggat, 2016).Perceived as distinct from managerial supervision, the terms clinical and professional supervision are usedinterchangeably and share similar characteristics. Both are associated with educational, supportive (personaland professional), and reflective functions (Association of Occupational Therapists of Ireland (AOTI), 2010;Australian Association of Social Workers (AASW), 2014; Care Quality Commission, 2013; College ofOccupational Therapists, 2015; Dawson et al., 2013; Lambley & Marrable, 2013; Leggat, 2016). Henceforth,the term professional supervision or supervision will be used, encompassing both aspects of clinical andprofessional supervision as described in the literature.OCCUPATIONAL THERAPY AUSTRALIA (2019)8

6. Benefits of Professional SupervisionThe key terms used in this framework to describe supervision are; supervisee, service users andorganisation.6.1. SuperviseeThere is an emerging body of evidence on the impact of supervision across a range of health professions.Quality supervision processes have been linked with better problem-solving skills, decreased burn-out,enhanced work performance, and increased job satisfaction (Allbutt et al., 2017; Dawson et al., 2013; Koivuet al., 2012; Kumar et al., 2015; Social Care Institute for Excellence, 2017). A comparison study on theassociation between supervision and work-related well-being revealed that nurses who received efficientsupervision reported more job and personal resources (Koivu et al., 2012). A qualitative study of early-careersocial workers and occupational therapists linked a productive supervisor relationship with: identifying gapsin training; directing career development; providing checks on caseload, and monitoring work/life balance(Pack, 2015).6.2. Service usersIt is widely assumed that supervision can assist in producing better outcomes and safety for service userswhen it is used to enhance competency in service provision (Dawson et al., 2013). Supervision can identifyissues and training needs, resulting in positive changes to practice. A paucity of robust evidence remainsregarding the direct effect of supervision on service users’ health outcomes. A recent systematic review didfind significant improvements in the processes of care that are associated with enhanced health outcomes ofservice users as a result of supervision (Snowdon et al., 2017).6.3. OrganisationAn organisational commitment to quality supervision has been associated with staff being more motivatedand committed to the organisation, because they work in a culture where learning and development arevalued (Ducat et al., 2016; Koivu et al., 2012). A meta-analysis of 27 studies around the world, found thateffective supervision was also positively associated with lower staff turnover (Mor Barak et al., 2009).OCCUPATIONAL THERAPY AUSTRALIA (2019)9

7. Current Professional Supervision Practices: An Overview7.1 PerceptionsProfessional supervision is generally valued and perceived as being beneficial and important, and impactingpositively on professional practice. There is broad agreement over its purpose and objectives (Dawson et al.,2012; Leggat et al., 2016; Pollock et al., 2017; Roberts & Fitzgerald, 2017).7.2 Observance & implementationIn keeping with professional guidelines, most established work settings endorse professional supervisionpractices. The majority of employers are committed to the process and have appropriate supervisionpolicies. However, these were unevenly implemented: Where supervision was a performance managementtarget, supervisors were given allocated time to deliver supervision, and compliance with delivery was moreclosely monitored. Conversely, where supervision was a cultural expectation only, it became less of a prioritywhen workloads were high (Allbutt et al., 2017; Lambley & Marrable, 2013; Roberts & Fitzgerald, 2017;Turner-Daly & Jack, 2017).7.3 QualityWhilst requirements and the perception of its value ensured supervision took place, external economic shiftshas moved to a culture focused on compliance above considering the actual quality. Recent studies reportsignificant variations in quality and effectiveness of supervision. Particularly, participants were unclear aboutarrangements for monitoring the frequency and quality of supervision. Structures and processes vary greatlyand there is little agreement on what constitutes good supervision. Within occupational therapy, the lack of atheoretical background was noted (Allbutt, 2017; Benton et al., 2017; Davys et al., 2017; Herck & Hocking,2010; Lambley & Marrable, 2013; Sweeney et al., 2001; Turner-Daly & Jack, 2017).7.4 QualificationsFor some health professions (e.g. Marriage and Family Therapy), supervisors require specific training to berecognised as an “approved supervisor” while other professions, such as occupational therapy promote moreexperienced practitioners, who may or may not have training, into the role of professional supervisor aftersome time and practice experience. It is assumed they have the requisite skills for supervision and frequentlyundertake supervisory roles with little preparation and instructions (Dawson et al., 2013; Falender et al.,2013; Bernard & Goodyear, 2014; Allan et al., 2017; Fitzpatrick et al., 2012).7.5 ContentRecent systematic reviews identified a lack of current evidence for what constitutes best content forsupervision sessions, and a common absence of a theoretical framework to guide content and process ofsupervision (Dawson et al., 2013; Pearce et al., 2013). Legatt et al. (2016) confirmed a lack of agreement onthe appropriate content of supervision sessions for Australian allied health professionals. Supervisionsessions typically focused on case management, with much less attention paid to the supervisee andopportunities for them to reflect on their practice (Turner-Daly & Jack, 2017); Where supervision practiceswere in function of solving problems, the day-to-day case management was not discussed or reviewed(Herck & Hocking, 2010). Supervision often depended more on the characteristics of the supervisor and theagency context than the needs of the practitioner (Turner-Daly & Jack, 2017).7.6 EvaluationThere is no established culture within health services for evaluation of professional supervision. Davys et al.(2017) identified a lack of reliable measures to evaluate supervision; no evidence of a culture promotingevaluation, and no organisational requirement for evaluation of supervision. The most commonly-usedmethods of evaluation were informal and verbal report or feedback (Davys et al., 2017). There is evidencethat evaluation of supervision is occurring, but on a largely ad-hoc basis, it is mainly instigated by thesupervisors, and has a strong bias towards process evaluation (Davys et al., 2017).OCCUPATIONAL THERAPY AUSTRALIA (2019)10

7.7 ‘Best Practice’ ConsensusWithin the discipline of occupational therapy, the paucity of literature on professional supervision militatesagainst consensus on ‘best practice’ guidelines and implementation strategies. Evidence from systematicreviews exploring the effectiveness of allied health supervision is weak; methodological flaws and a lack ofcomparative studies were common (Dawson et al., 2013; Ducat & Kumar, 2015; Pearce et al., 2013; Pollock,2017; Snowdon et al., 2017). This is confounded by a lack of uniform definitions, interchangeableterminology, and variations in what is delivered as supervision (Pollock et al., 2017).The agglomeration of these variabilities limits capacity to associate professional supervision with quality ofcare for service users (Kettle, 2015). It does highlight the need for a common occupational therapy view ofwhat factors constitute effective professional supervision.OCCUPATIONAL THERAPY AUSTRALIA (2019)11

8. Guiding Principles for Supervision in Occupational TherapyThe occupational therapy professional codes and competency standards offer a foundation upon which toconduct professional supervision in line with the principles espoused by empirical literature. That is, aprofessional relationship and confidentiality as the secure base that allows supervisees to feel safe toparticipate fully (O'Donoghue, 2018). In addition, and anecdotally, the prevalence of mental health issues inoccupational therapy practitioners warrants consideration of duty of care.8.1 Professional values and integrity supporting professional relationshipsAll parties involved in supervision processes should be familiar with, and uphold professional ethicalstandards as outlined in: The Code of Conduct: 4.2 ‘Respect for colleagues and other practitioners’ The Code of Ethics: ‘Professional Relationships and Responsibility’ The Australian Occupational Therapy Competency Standards: Standards 1, ‘Professionalism’8.2 ConfidentialityThe parameters of confidentiality need to be stipulated in a supervision agreement. Supervisors maintain theconfidentiality of the supervisee, unless safety or welfare of supervisee and service users is compromised.Limits of confidentiality and reporting processes need to be in line with professional and organisationalpolicies, and should be communicated and documented.8.3 Duty of care and mental healthIt is recommended that all parties involved in the supervision process acquaint themselves with the MentalHealth First Aid Guidelines – ‘Providing mental health first aid in the workplace’ (Mental health First AidAustralia, 2016). These guidelines are about how employees should tailor their approach when providingmental health first aid to a co-worker or employee they manage: nes#mhfaworkplaceOCCUPATIONAL THERAPY AUSTRALIA (2019)12

9. Effective Professional Supervision: EnablersImplementation of supervision will be affected by a number of variables such as characteristics of supervisor,agency context, resources available to support supervision, access to supervisors, and the profession (Allanet al., 2017; Turner-Daly & Jack, 2017). Despite these factors, and the variations in definitions and activitiesincluded in supervision, research shows similarities across health professions in relation to its benefits andenablers (Allbutt et al., 2017; Ducat & Kumar, 2015; Fitzpatrick et al., 2012).9.1 Explicit policies and guidelinesEffective supervision is linked with external profession-specific coordination of supervision, regulatorydrivers, and comprehensive guidelines. Likewise, internal robust organisational policies and guidelines arekey factors in supporting effective supervision practices. These could be linked to other organisationalpolicies such as sickness and absence, health and wellbeing, whistleblowing, and grievance (Allbutt et al.,2017; Ayres et al., 2014; Davys et al., 2017; Fitzpatrick, 2012; SCIE, 2017; Snowdon et al., 2017).9.2 Organizational cultureThe culture of an organisation, its general commitment to professional values, will permeate the behavioursof the participants in supervision. An organization that understands and promotes the values and benefits ofsupervision for all its stakeholders is critical to its implementation. Supervision has a part to play in deliveringpositive outcomes for service users, employees, and the organisation. Practitioners therefore need to beallowed planning, preparation and supervision time as part of their workload (Kettle, 2015; Lambley &Marrable, 2013; SCIE, 2017; Snowdon et al., 2016; Turner-Daly & Jack, 2017).9.3 TrainingProviding effective supervision is a skilled task. Mandatory, specific, and quality supervision training (internaland external) for all staff involved is vital. Absence of training can lead to a lack of knowledge on how toimplement the essential components of supervision (reflections, critical feedback, problem solving) andconflicting use of power and authority in supervising employees (Albutt et al., 2017; Ayres et al., 2014;Benton et al., 2017; Fitzpatrick et al., 2012; Kettle, 2015; Lambley & Marrable, 2013).9.4 Separating supervision from line managementProfessional supervision is more effective when provided by someone other than the supervisee’s manager.Recent studies overwhelmingly indicate a strong preference of supervisees to differentiate line managementfunctions from those of supervision, and to be supervised by someone other than the supervisee’s linemanager. If not well managed, dual roles can hinder the development of an effective supervisory relationshipand poses a risk of authority being used coercively. Supervisees may be less inclined to disclose informationand discuss ethically sensitive practice issues if they fear this information may effect performance evaluation,job retention, or promotion.Where dual responsibilities cannot be avoided, it is important that: Supervision issues are clearly separated from line management issues, i.e. the supervision contractclearly structures and separates supervision and management agendas Regular reviews and feedback from the supervisees are undertaken All parties are aware of potential risk factors:oThe use of covert agendas (i.e. for the benefit of the organisation, not the employee)oHiding relevant information (which may impact safe and quality service delivery)oAttempts by supervisee at impression managementoPotential consequences of future career prospectsOCCUPATIONAL THERAPY AUSTRALIA (2019)13

(Davys, 2017; Egan et al., 2016; Hair, 2013; Legatt et al., 2016; Martin et al., 2014; Martin et al., 2015;Roberts & Fitzgerald, 2017; Sweeney et al., 2001).9.5 TimeWork demands can often interfere with time allotted for supervision. Creating protected time and a quiet,safe space where there are no interruptions (lest there is an emergency) denotes the value of supervision.Conversely, and prominently reported in recent studies, rushed sessions, frequent interruptions, orcompromising supervision time because of caseload demands can be detrimental to effective supervisionand are likely to create the norm (Allbutt et al., 2017; Ayres et al., 2014; Benton et al., 2017; Dawson et al.,2012; Martin et al., 2016; Snowdon et al., 2016; Turner-Daly, 2017).9.6 Challenging – Critical FeedbackWhilst supervision sessions need to be relaxed and supportive, they also need to be challenging and provideopportunities for reflection, analysis and constructive feedback. Supervisees value critical feedback morethan supervisors appreciate, and most supervisors are apprehensive about giving critical feedback. A lack ofchallenging supervision engagements can lead to complacency in practice (Allbutt et al., 2017; Lambley &Marrable, 2013; Turner-Daly, 2017).The following resources provide practical tips on how to give critical feedback: Cantillon, P. & Sargeant, J. (2008). Giving feedback in clinical settings. British Medical Journal 337(7681),1292-1294. publication/23465494 Giving feedback in clinical settings Ramani, S. & Krackov, S.K. (2012)

The Professional Supervision Framework: Outlines the professional and regulatory expectations of professional supervision of qualified occupational therapists. Identifies 'best practice' professional supervision models, processes, and practices within the contemporary Australian, international, and related disciplinary contexts.