Supervision: A Win-Win Relationship in the Work World Presenters from the upcoming ASHA Connect conference preview the keys to successful supervision in health care. On the Pulse
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On the Pulse  |   April 01, 2016
Supervision: A Win-Win Relationship in the Work World
Author Notes
  • Sue T. Hale, MCD, CCC-SLP, is associate professor and director of clinical education in the Department of Hearing and Speech Sciences at Vanderbilt University. She served as 2009 ASHA president and is an affiliate of ASHA Special Interest Group 11, Administration and Supervision. sue.t.hale@vanderbilt.edu
    Sue T. Hale, MCD, CCC-SLP, is associate professor and director of clinical education in the Department of Hearing and Speech Sciences at Vanderbilt University. She served as 2009 ASHA president and is an affiliate of ASHA Special Interest Group 11, Administration and Supervision. sue.t.hale@vanderbilt.edu×
  • Tommie L. Robinson Jr., PhD, CCC-SLP, is chief of the hearing and speech division of the Children’s National Health System in Washington, D.C. He served as 2010 ASHA president and is an affiliate of Special Interest Groups 4, Fluency and Fluency Disorders; 11, Administration and Supervision; 14, Cultural and Linguistic Diversity; and 16, School-Based Issues. trobinso@childrensnational.org
    Tommie L. Robinson Jr., PhD, CCC-SLP, is chief of the hearing and speech division of the Children’s National Health System in Washington, D.C. He served as 2010 ASHA president and is an affiliate of Special Interest Groups 4, Fluency and Fluency Disorders; 11, Administration and Supervision; 14, Cultural and Linguistic Diversity; and 16, School-Based Issues. trobinso@childrensnational.org×
Article Information
Professional Issues & Training / ASHA News & Member Stories / On the Pulse
On the Pulse   |   April 01, 2016
Supervision: A Win-Win Relationship in the Work World
The ASHA Leader, April 2016, Vol. 21, 34-36. doi:10.1044/leader.OTP.21042016.34
The ASHA Leader, April 2016, Vol. 21, 34-36. doi:10.1044/leader.OTP.21042016.34
When you ask speech-language pathologists in health care if they are interested in supervising others, the response is likely to be some variation of a very polite “no.”
We get it. Clinicians in health care balance a variety of demands: We struggle to maintain productivity levels, generate revenue, deliver quality service and complete documentation. Who has time to supervise?
And SLPs tend to associate “supervision” with clinical education of students. But health care settings have a number of other supervisory needs. We may be asked to supervise:
  • Clinical fellows (CFs).

  • Co-workers who are direct reports.

  • A new member of our unit’s service delivery team.

  • Speech-language pathology assistants (SLPAs).

Each of these supervisory relationships involves different interactions and different ways to measure supervisory success, but because our schedules are already stretched to the maximum, we may neglect—or reject—supervisory tasks.
But here’s something clinicians may not realize: Successful supervision is a workplace win-win. It can produce more and better clinicians and increase the number of people who can effectively assume routine tasks.
Here is some information to help you get started as a supervisor.
Clinical fellows
A CF supervisor needs to support CFs as they move to independence. When you first meet with a CF, of course you review unit policies and expectations. At that same early meeting, consider scheduling all on-site and other monitoring activities. That simple step will help avoid the difficult task of arranging those visits on an ad hoc basis later, when conflicts may make it easy to postpone or fail to meet the required guidelines.
Considered a mentor, the CF supervisor establishes outcome goals for the CF and completes CF paperwork. The CF may expect to meet with you frequently, similar to graduate school supervision, or may prefer very limited contact. Determining expectations at the beginning can avoid misunderstandings and confusion.
The most important role of a CF mentor is to help the CF channel the skills and knowledge from graduate school to the workplace. By the end of 36 full-time weeks, the CF should feel comfortable and competent to make decisions and provide services independently. ASHA provides specific guidelines for supervising clinical fellows.
Direct reports and new staff
Supervising direct-report personnel—either professionals or non-professionals—and new members of the service delivery team requires some business management skills: leadership, performance improvement, personnel management, compliance and professional practice. Clinicians in health care settings who supervise direct reports—unit managers, for example—typically have worked under someone in that position before taking on the responsibilities themselves.
So think about the good managers who have supervised you—whose approaches have created efficient, positive teams rather than those who are polarizing or authoritarian—and emulate those managers. In addition to ASHA’s materials on supervision, check out general business management literature.
What if someone you supervise lacks the appropriate level of skills for that position? Make it clear that you can’t provide graduate-level training in evaluating and treating, and that the clinician must take appropriate continuing education classes to practice competently and ethically. Only then can you provide guidance and workplace advice more effectively.
Assistants
Working with SLPAs allows you to delegate certain tasks, improving your own productivity and efficiency. Take care to adhere to guidelines for tasks and assignments to the SLPA, as you have the legal and ethical responsibility for the SLPA’s work. ASHA has guidelines for all aspects of supervising SLPAs.
Need help developing supervisory skills? One place to start is ASHA’s Leadership Development Program, through which attendees learn more about their emotional IQ and how to become more effective leaders.
Also, ASHA’s Ad Hoc Committee on Supervision Training is developing a comprehensive plan for systematic training in supervision for students, CFs, audiology externs, support personnel and certified clinicians transitioning to a new area of practice. The committee is expected to complete its work later this year.
Is Supervision on Your Radar? Learn More at ASHA Connect

Sue Hale and Tommie Robinson will present “Supervision in the Work World”—covering the skills supervisors need to establish an environment that increases clinical skills and meets workplace targets—at the ASHA Connect conference.

This three-day event—a blend of the former ASHA Schools Conference and Health Care/Business Institute—is designed for private practitioners, health care clinicians and school-based clinicians. In a variety of sessions, participants will find the tools they need to navigate changes in their workplace and will learn solutions they can implement immediately in their practices.

ASHA Connect will take place July 8–10 in Minneapolis.

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FROM THIS ISSUE
April 2016
Volume 21, Issue 4