chapter  8
Critical reflection and supervision: an interdisciplinary experience
Pages 12

Health professionals generally work in interdisciplinary teams and are expected to manage the complexities of engaging with those from differing professional backgrounds. Critical reflection based on Fook and Gardner (2007) can provide a language and framework for working across disciplines. This chapter outlines the experience of an interdisciplinary team in a health service – the Rehabilitation in the Home team (RITH) at Southern Health – in implementing peer supervision groups using critical reflection. Rehabilitation in the home is a home-based program providing intensive rehabilitation services to the SouthernMetropolitan region in Victoria, Australia, with offices located at three different nodes across the region. Unlike many of the other existing home-based rehabilitation programs, Southern Health RITH provides both case management and Allied Health therapy from the following disciplines: speech therapy, dietetics, neuropsychology, occupational therapy, physiotherapy and social work. The current RITH case managers are all qualified professionals from a variety of backgrounds, including occupational therapy, social work and nursing. This provides a wide variety of educational backgrounds and varied theoretical knowledge bases, but also poses a unique challenge for peer supervision using critical reflection. The disciplines felt safe within the context of their own discipline, but then had to meet the challenge of working across disciplines. Southern Health is a large metropolitan health service with 400 profes-

sionals in its Allied Health Continuing Care Program (full-and part-time). In 2007, Allied Health began a supervision project aiming to implement supervision practice in the Continuing Care Program, and my co-author (Eddie Taalman) was seconded as a .4 EFT project manager. A panel of senior clinical staff and discipline-based managers, along with the Allied Health Director and Eddie as project manager, was established to provide input into drafting supervision guidelines for the nine professional groupings: physiotherapy, occupational therapy, speech pathology, social work, psychology, dietetics, podiatry, music therapy and exercise physiology. At that stage, clinical supervision varied significantly across disciplines and service areas, with some having established supervision practices and others with no formalised supervision system in place.