Contribution of supervision to the development of advanced practitioners: a qualitative study of pharmacy learners’ and supervisors’ views

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Objective To apply educational theory to explore how supervision can contribute to the development of advanced practitioners using the example of several postregistration primary care training pathways for pharmacy professionals (pharmacists and pharmacy technicians).

Design Qualitative semistructured telephone interviews applying Billet’s theory of workplace pedagogy for interpretation.

Setting England.

Participants Fifty-one learners and ten supervisors.

Primary outcome Contribution of clinical and educational supervision to the development of advanced practitioners in primary care.

Results Findings were mapped against the components of Billet’s theory to provide insights into the role of supervision in developing advanced practitioners. Key elements for effective supervision included supporting learners to identify their learning needs (educational supervision), guiding learners in everyday work activities (clinical supervision), and combination of regular prearranged face-to-face meetings and ad hoc contact when needed (clinical supervision), along with ongoing support as learners progressed through a learning pathway (educational supervision). Clinical supervisors supported learners in developing proficiency and confidence in translating and applying the knowledge and skills they were gaining into practice. Learners benefited from having clinical supervisors in the workplace with good understanding and experience of working in the setting, as well as receiving clinical supervision from different types of healthcare professionals. Educational supervisors supported learners to identify their learning needs and the requirements of the learning pathway, and then as an ongoing available source of support as they progressed through a pathway. Educational supervisors also filled in some of the gaps where there was a lack of local clinical supervision and in settings like community pharmacy where pharmacist learners did not have access to any clinical supervision.

Conclusions This study drew out important elements which contributed to effective supervision of pharmacy advanced practitioners. Findings can inform the education and training of advanced practitioners from different professions to support healthcare workforce development in different healthcare settings.

Bibliographical metadata

Original languageEnglish
JournalBMJ Open
Publication statusPublished - 12 Apr 2022

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