Capacity building in rural and remote areas is hampered by the lack of availability of trained supervisors

Capacity building in rural and remote areas is hampered by the lack of availability of trained supervisors for clinical psychology and other mental health students in rural and remote locations.

Difficulties also exist with the current mental health workforce who are qualified to practice yet are unable to access a supervisor to provide the support required to deal with often complex and clinically challenging mental health issues.

Training to improve the quality of supervision and the number of appropriately trained supervisors has the potential to reduce burnout and declining retention rates.

The Codes and guidelines paper issued by the Psychology Board of Australia indicated that, under the National Accreditation rules which took effect in July 2010, there will be an increased emphasis on student supervision. More flexible rules will allow increases use of distance methods including teleconference quality video to assist training for those in remote settings. Notably, supervision will now be required for all practising psychologists, no longer just for students, thus the demand for supervision training is expected to increase significantly.

For the Mental Health Nursing profession, participation in clinical supervision is an essential requirement for completion of the Credentialing process, as specified by the Australian College of Mental Health Nurses, and is regarded as a benchmark to maintain standards of practice.

Outcomes from a program funded by the Department of Health and Ageing will be described  including the development of a self-directed supported training syllabus to prepare mental health professionals for the role of clinical student supervision.

Prof Russell Hawkins, James Cook University will present this paper at the 4th Australian Rural and Remote Mental Health Symposium, 19 - 21 November 2012, Adelaide, SA

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