Part 2: The Placement

Activity 2.3: Stages of the Supervisory Process

This activity introduces the various stages of the supervisory process. It includes a useful example of a field placement planner and finishes with a discussion.

Supervisory Functions

Supervisory Functions (Villeneuve, 1994, p. 31-32)

Stages of supervised placement (Anthony & Gaiptman, 1993, p. 1-4) Administrative Function Teaching Function Support Function


Plan field placement/ clinical experience

Obtain placement documents (objectives, evaluation form) if not already done

Advise team of student’s arrival; explain placement objectives and work assignments

Student orientation

Take student on tour of his/her work areas

Explain facility’s mission and relevant policies and procedures

Describe general and patient-specific safety measures

Spell out supervisor’s expectations and explain placement and supervisory procedures, as well as stakeholders’ roles and responsibilities

Work with student on specific objectives or development of learning contract

Respect student’s way of being and doing things

Acknowledge student’s preferred learning style(s)

Apply appropriate principles of various learning theories to present situation

Promote learning by using tools suited to different learning styles (journal, audiovisuals, role playing)

Recognize affective and cognitive dimensions of learning

Facilitate learning of needed knowledge, skills, attitudes

Recognize strengths and areas needing improvement

Provide student with continuing feedback

Discuss formal evaluations with student

Make learning tools available to student (e.g. articles)

Build climate of trust and sharing conducive to learning progress

Practise effective, bona fide communication (listening, feedback, transparency, consistency)

Be open and understanding toward student (e.g. listen to student’s point of view, ask his/her opinion

Relieve stress caused by new learning situations

Project calm and assurance needed to learn

Encourage autonomy of student

Be tolerant of mistakes, without allowing patient’s safety to be jeopardized

Reinforce sense of affiliation with profession and field/clinical site

Administrative Function Teaching Function Support Function


Organize and coordinate field placement/clinical experience

Stay in contact with educational institution

Make sure student is integrated into work team on basis of placement objectives (not as supplemental worker)

Provide sufficient information on day to day work organization

Take responsibility for placement supervision

Plan placement activities

Review objectives with student, and revise as needed

Choose student’s cases based on learning progress and nature of placement

Organize work schedule and assign tasks

Evaluate placement activities

Conduct mid-term


Plan supervisory conferences (e.g. discussion)

Check quality and amount of work done

Consult evaluation tools (observation worksheets)

Promote reflection and linkage between theory and practice

Encourage reflective practice (review of work accomplished, self-evaluation)

Review completed interventions with reference to professional standards

Measure progress toward objectives on regular basis; discuss with student

Help student to create therapeutic relationship with his/her clients or patients and to end those relationships in a timely fashion

Build professional and ethical working relationship with student

Consider how relationship of authority affects relationship of trust

Recognize power plays

Tactfully establish friendly relations with student (authority vs. trust)

Objectify own reactions and those of student and patient

Realize own attitudes and perceptions; recognize those of student

Perform self-assessment and adapt to student’s needs as required

Encourage student to acquire knowledge, skills and attitudes relating to practice of target profession


Wind up placement

Conduct end-term evaluation

Formalize placement outcome: pass or fail

Make sure student has appraised his/her experience at field/clinical site

Reassign student’s work load if necessary

Field Placement / Clinical Experience Planner

Adapted from Dupont (1997) and Anthony & Gaiptman (1993)

One month before placement

  • Inform the team of the student’s arrival (during a meeting or via memo, email or voice mail).
  • Give the student’s name, placement duration, attendance schedule and senior supervisor.
  • Request the team’s collaboration. Identify the persons available to spend time with the student during the first few days of the placement.
  • Name a contact person to stand in when the supervisor is absent.
  • In case of co-supervision, clarify the tasks, availability, expectations and respective modi operandi of the two supervisors.
  • Plan specific placement activities and add them to the schedule.
  • Update the student orientation package.

Two weeks before placement

  • Send a welcome letter including the following:
  • Place to which the student will report on the first day
  • Dress code
  • Materials to bring
  • Field/clinical site map and public transit information
  • Send orientation package ahead of time (along with welcome letter) or give it to the student upon arrival.
  • Notify the secretary’s office, reception desk and clerks of the student’s arrival.
  • Free up your calendar as much as possible during the first two weeks of the placement.
  • Read all placement-related documentation.
  • Learn about the student’s grasp of theory.
  • If the field/clinical site allows, choose the clients who will be assigned to the student. Obtain those clients’ consent. Choose the cases in light of the placement objectives and the student’s training level.
  • Arrange the premises to provide a student work area. That area would best be located away from the supervisor’s area so that the student can develop autonomy and think for himself or herself.
  • Make sure the student receives a key.
  • Plan the placement: schedule one-on-one supervisory conferences (or group conferences if appropriate), as well as the dates and times for compulsory activities, e.g. preparing individual (or group) learning contract, case presentations, and mid-term and end-term evaluations.
  • Schedule activities for the first few days (reading files, observing interventions, meeting first clients, etc.).

NB. The schedule should include free time for working on the learning contract, record keeping, journaling, and so on.

First week of placement

  • Have lunch or a refreshment break with the student the first day.
  • Provide orientation at the field/clinical site (including a tour of the clinical units, cafeteria, documentation centre, etc.).
  • Prepare the student’s ID card (if applicable).
  • Supply a lab coat or uniform (if needed).

Anthony, A. & B. Gaiptman. (1993). Fundamentals of Supervision: Reaching Your Potential as a Supervisor (Leader’s Guide), p. 2-17, and Dupont, L. (1997). Preparation d’un stage (unpublished).

Let’s discuss: Reflections on stages of placement

How do the ideas in these articles fit with your own supervisory experience? If there were ideas that resonate with you, please share them with us.

Supervision takes place in a context of a relationship. How do you anticipate your own experience as a supervisee will influence your supervisiory process?

5 comments on “Activity 2.3: Stages of the Supervisory Process

  1. manels33 on

    The ideas reflect the experience I had as a SUPERVISEE (I don’t have any experience as a supervisor yet).
    They really guide the process.

    I had good and bad experiences as a supervisee, therefore I will do my best to prepare the best setting for the students.

  2. ClaudieBF on

    My first experience as a supervisor should be in 2018.
    I am going to put efforts in making sure the supervisee sees me as a professionnel Partner (coach) rather than a hierarchic supervisor. I want the person to feel confortable to ask questions since that is what helped me most as a supervisee. Depending on the question, I still want the person to be able to explain her rationale as why she is questionning him/herself, why she was unable to answer on her own, etc…

  3. roxemond123 on

    It is crucial to be well prepared prior to the placement in order to set the stage for the remainder of the of the placement. From experience as a supervisee, I can say placements where the supervisor was prepared and organized made the placement more profitable and a pleasant experience.

    As a supervisee, I was always grateful to have supervisors that were “coaches” and I plan on doing the same.

  4. Claude VA on

    Je trouve très pertinent d’avoir ce genre de “checklist” de choses à faire avant l’arrivée de ma première stagiaire. C’est rassurant pour moi de me sentir organisée et de ne pas avoir peur de manquer de grande étape.
    Comme stagiaire, j’ai apprécié les superviseurs qui étaient souriants, agréables, inclusifs, objectifs et avec lesquels je sentais que le but était de me faire avancer. J’espère être en mesure d’offrir une telle supervision à mes futurs stagiaires

  5. Jenn1 on

    I really like the ”checklist” as it will allow me to prepare myself correctly before the arrival of the student and make sure that I dont forget anything. I want to be prepared to welcome the student.

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