Purpose: Transitioning into occupational therapy practice is a complex process in which new graduates develop their skills and professional identity. Evidence suggests this process requires guidance and support through supervision. This study investigated final year students’ and newly graduated occupational therapists’ perceptions and expectations of the role and efficacy of supervision as they transition into practice. Methods: A cross sectional online survey was sent to final year students and newly graduated occupational therapists within Australia and New Zealand, to explore experiences, perceptions, and the content of supervision received in practice. Results: Of 151 participants, 96% received supervision from an experienced occupational therapist and reported it facilitated skill development and enhanced quality of service to clients; however 4% reported they do not receive supervision in practice. The frequency of supervision decreased between students (63% weekly) and new graduates (41% monthly) and perceptions of supervision effectiveness changed over time. Conclusions: The transition to occupational therapy practice is complex and perceptions of the effectiveness of supervision change. Provision of education regarding supervision within undergraduate curriculum, and training for supervisors may alleviate associated stressors. Increasing the frequency of supervision and understanding the supervisory role may support transitioning into practice.

Author Bio(s)

Sophie Melman BOccThy (Hons), Occupational Therapist, Hunter New England Area Health, Newcastle, Australia.

Samantha Ashby PhD, M.App.Sci (OT), BScHons, DipCOT, Lecturer, Discipline of Occupational Therapy, University of Newcastle, Australia.

Carole James PhD, MHSc(OT), BSc(OT), DipCOT, Associate Professor, School of Health Sciences, University of Newcastle, Australia.


The authors thank the academics from Australian and New Zealand universities for their assistance with the recruitment of participants. Authors also thank the participants for completing this survey.




Submission Location


To view the content in your browser, please download Adobe Reader or, alternately,
you may Download the file to your hard drive.

NOTE: The latest versions of Adobe Reader do not support viewing PDF files within Firefox on Mac OS and if you are using a modern (Intel) Mac, there is no official plugin for viewing PDF files within the browser window.