Cultivating Bigger2web 

The best way to get over a fear of taking on student is to take one on!

“RehabCare is committed to the education and development of future health care professionals. We demonstrate that commitment by enhancing the education of students in the classroom and pairing them with our therapists for fieldwork and clinical education. If you build it, they will come.”
- Mary VanDeKamp, Senior Vice President – Quality Integrated Services

Supervising a student can be both a rewarding and challenging experience. RehabCare and KHRS has always fostered an environment of learning in its facilities through the Student Programs Department. The success we’ve made would not have been achieved without the clinicians who – day in and day out – are willing to supervise students and share their expertise with them.

Recently in the Kansas City area, Misty Coleman, SLP, Julie Thornton, OTD, and Kristal Spurlock, PTA, hosted a Journal Club for other area RehabCare therapists called “Maximizing the Therapy Student Experience by Cultivating the Lifelong Learner.” They had a great turnout, proving that our therapists are committed to providing an amazing clinical education experience. During the training, Misty, Julie and Kristal shared their expertise and best practices when supervising students.

A major focus of the discussion was easing therapist hesitations regarding taking on a student. Some of the concerns clinicians frequently have range from not being a great supervisor to not having the clinical expertise in educating a student. The important thing to realize is that being a clinical instructor often involves experimenting to develop skills and techniques for you, just as the student is developing skills and techniques for themselves.

Every student is different – however, there are common qualities and expectations that both the supervisor and student should have:

• An organized, structured program with clear-cut objectives
• Ability to adapt the program structure to meet the student’s needs
• Ongoing, constructive feedback
• Open communication of development of skills
• Supervisor availability
• A thorough orientation
• Modeling of communication techniques to patients
• Observation of how the therapist adjusts his/her approach to different patients
• Sharing personal experience about professional obstacles and how they were handled

What are some qualities of a good supervisor?

• Differentiating responsibilities and allowing the student to be an active participant in the learning process
• Recognizing students as individual learners and modifying the program
• Adapting the supervisory approach based on the learning needs of the student
• Setting clear goals
• Staying organized and thorough

As a supervisor, you’ll take a journey with the student as you develop the right technique for education and supervision. This will allow you to cultivate yourself and become a lifelong learner – and every student will help you to grow as a clinician. To find more information on Student Supervision and Clinical Education, visit:

Knect > Rehab Division > Student Programs