Introduction to GP Supervision

GP Supervision is the foundation of generalist training in Australia, but not everywhere around the world. 

As an apprenticeship model, the relative autonomy of junior doctors in general practice makes the focus of supervision patient safety above all else. This in turn makes the effectiveness of the Supervisor critical, with effectiveness coming down to their:

  • Accessibility
  • Approachability
  • Supportiveness
  • Clinical Skills
  • Communication and Teaching Skills
Intro to GP Supervision

A GP supervisor is a general practitioner who establishes and maintains an educational alliance that supports the clinical, educational and personal development of a registrar.

Clinical and Educational Components

Clinical supervision is about ensuring that the patient is safe, whilst educational supervision is about ensuring the Registrar is learning.


Supervisors must have ‘clinical oversight’ of the management of their registrar’s patients, including quality of care and patient safety. Development of a clinical supervision plan is recommended to take into account factors such as:

  • Ad hoc supervision arrangements – how will this occur?
  • Formative assessments – when will these take place in the practice?


Supervisors are expected to guide their registrar’s educational development through implementation of a learning plan incorporating factors such as:

  • Identifying learning needs
  • Formal and informal teaching
  • Providing feedback

But there is more to supervision than this. When we are supervising there are many opportunities for improvement. We are not just aiming to develop ‘safe’ doctors. We are also looking at how whilst supervising we can improve the quality of clinical decision making. Some educational supervision will be added to activities that may appear at first sight to be about clinical supervision.

Play Video about Clinical Educational

Four Core Skills of Supervision

Play Video about Four Core skills

Seven roles of GP Supervision


Play Video about 7 hats

Conflicts in the GP Supervisor role

Play Video about Role Conflicts
Play Video about Improve performance
Play Video about Developing as a supervisor

Date reviewed: 26 October 2021

Please note that while reasonable care is taken to provide accurate information at the time of creation, we frequently update content and links as needed. If you identify any inconsistencies or broken links, please let us know by email.
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