Document Type (Journals)

Original Research


The philosophy behind occupational therapy (OT) education espouses the belief that students are dynamic actors in the teaching-learning process, participating in self-appraisal and professional identity development. Yet, best-practice guidelines have not been developed to support students acting in a supervisory role, or contrastingly, receiving supervision from a peer. This study took place at a student-run OT clinic at a large research university in the Midwest. Qualitative methods were employed to investigate the question: What educational and training supports are needed to assist OT students with peer supervision in a student-run clinic? Six OT students participated in a focus group and discussed qualities of successful OT peer supervision. A transcript of the focus group was analyzed using Strauss and Corbin’s approach to grounded theory. Findings were explored considering the current literature on peer supervision. Findings indicated that students in an OT peer supervision relationship wanted to develop skills in feedback, professionalism, and guided discovery. Taken together, the evidence suggests skillful relationship abilities are of greater value to peer supervision relationships than clinical expertise alone. Frameworks including andragogy and the nurturing perspective on teaching are relevant to understanding the learning that takes place in OT peer supervision. The collaborative and supportive nature of peer supervision relationships are grounds for significant learning.


Annie Murphy-Hagan, OTD, OTR/L is a graduate of the Program in Occupational Therapy at Washington University School of Medicine in St Louis. Her research interests include clinical supervision practices, professional identity, and cultural and linguistically appropriate services in healthcare.

Lauren E. Milton, OTD, OTR/L is an Instructor at the Program in Occupational Therapy at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, Missouri. She is engaged in the development and implementation of several educationally-based programmatic and research initiatives at the Program, including the Innovations in Education Lab.

Declaration of Interest

The authors report no declarations of interest.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.