Clinical supervision doesn’t just benefit trainees

Clinical supervision

While it is generally accepted that supervising clinical learners is an important and necessary part of the work lives of most health practitioners, many do not relish this component of their role.

Some lack confidence in their teaching skills and some don’t feel they have the required time to provide an optimum learning environment, whilst balancing the needs of their patients.

Others feel unsure about how to deal with challenging trainees.

Professor Stephen Trumble, Head of the Department of Medical Education, wanted to change this perception and developed a new online course in clinical supervision.

"Sometimes these courses are a bit of a ‘tick the box’ exercise," Professor Trumble said.

"What we’re trying to do here is present some really useful skills that people can use to make their jobs more enjoyable," he said.

Drawing upon Melbourne Medical School’s popular award courses in clinical education, the course is suitable for any medical professional who supervises learners, from doctors to allied health workers, and even vets.

As well as covering the principles of effective clinical supervision, the course provides practical resources and techniques to support supervisors.

It outlines how to balance the needs of the trainee with those of the patient, and how to provide feedback to trainees in a way that improves performance.

"The ultimate positive evaluation of a course like this is if someone says, ‘I now look forward to working with challenging trainees, because I can actually test my skills, and do something about it’," Professor Trumble said.

The course aims to help supervisors lift trainees to a level where they can take on more work, freeing up more time for the supervisor.

"Because this course has been developed by practising clinicians, we understand the challenges, and we’re putting forward solutions to make life easier for everyone," Professor Trumble said.

"What we’re proposing are skills and techniques to make supervision not only effective, but efficient," he said.

"If you do the course, you’ll be better at what you do, so it’s worth doing because it will give you more time with your patients while getting better outcomes for your learners."

The online format provides complete flexibility for time-poor clinicians who would otherwise have trouble coming to a face-to-face session.

The course takes approximately six hours, completed in blocks as time permits, using the eLearning Education App on a mobile device or a web browser.

If students need further support, they will be invited to join the Department of Education’s webinar series.

"For health professionals, particularly doctors, it’s not about the money, it’s about the time," Professor Trumble said.

"This is a practical, applied course, and we guarantee we won’t waste your time," he said.

You can register for the course or contact the Mobile Learning Unit at for more information.

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