Supervision of Behavioral Health Trainees in Primary Care

With the growing demand for integrated primary care, there is also a growing need for a model of supervision of behavioral health providers that promotes acquisition of clinical skills and professional development in a primary care setting. Cherokee Health Systems, a comprehensive community care organization, has a model of supervision that works well with psychologists and other health care providers in an integrated environment.

Early trainees receive training that includes emphasis on shadowing primary care providers and other behavioral health providers. They also have readings and teachings on developing primary care content knowledge. Mid-level trainees receive supervision that works to refine their clinical and practice management skills to help them match the speed of work flow in primary care. Advanced trainees can handle a higher volume of patients, and have increased autonomy. They are able to think critically on their feet, and their training encourages professional development.

Supervision in primary care settings should mirror the pace and structure of the primary care setting itself. Supervision is flexible and dynamic. It can happen on-the-fly and can include talking about 20 to 30 patients in one supervisory meeting. The content of supervision in a primary care setting can include questions about interprofessional practice, ethics, and practice management. A large part of supervision can also include teaching the trainee how to translate their knowledge into the language of a primary care setting. Despite the complexity of working in an integrated primary care setting, it can be rewarding and trainees can spend their lives doing important work.

View the Collaborative Family Healthcare Association blog post about supervision in primary care.

Posted March 2015