For Clinicians

FAQ's for Clinicians

What are the advantages of taking a student?

Apart from giving back to the profession, clinicians may find they learn about best practice and the latest trends in speech-language pathology as a result of supervising a student. It encourages clinicians to reflect on their practice and ensures ongoing learning. Additionally, a clinical appointment is offered to individuals who are not directly employed by the University of Alberta but have been dedicated to student placements (i.e. supervise 2 or more students per year). A clinical appointment entitles the individual to benefits such as a clinical title, recognition in the UofA calendar, clinical supervision workshops, and other continuing education opportunities. Further, students may nominate their clinical educators (CEs) for a Clinical Educator Award, given annually to recognize excellence in clinical supervision. The award will be presented at the annual Rehabilitation Medicine Students Association Gala.

What do I do if I want to start supervising SLP students?

Clinicians who wish to supervise an SLP student can contact the clinical education team in the Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders via email at The team will work with clinicians to start the process, and assist in navigating resources and supports to start taking students. Clinicians can also review the Clinical Education Handbook and resources available on the website for further information. The University also offers online and in-person information sessions and courses to help prepare clinicians wanting to supervise students and for CEs wanting updates and refreshers.

What do I need to know before my first student arrives?

A read-through of the Clinical Education Handbook is the place to start. This handbook will outline some of the policies and requirements of the program with respect to clinical education along with suggestions for structuring a placement, mentoring a student, and evaluation. The Clinical Education website also has a wealth of information. Helpful documents to review include the assessment tool (Clinical Appraisal Form), the Counting Hours Q&A and the SLP National Competency Profile . The student will contact you to introduce themselves prior to placement starting. This will help with beginning to individualize the placement and start the student-clinician relationship.

What should the student be doing on the first few days?

Typically the first few days include site and service orientation, a tentative overview of how the placement will unfold, key dates (e.g. midterm evaluation), how and when you will provide feedback, when you will meet or debrief services (e.g. weekly meetings, daily check-ins), and early introductions to clients and care. It is important in the first few days to sit down with the student and develop a learning plan to outline specific goals that you and the student have for the placement. This can then be adjusted and modified as the placement progresses and the Clinical Learning Plan can help guide this process. The handbook further contains information on what to include at the beginning of placement.

What do I do if the student arrives inappropriately dressed?

Students should be attending placement in standard professional attire and follow dress code requirements at sites. Please inform the students of the dress code during site orientation. If there is a concern following this, reiterate the dress code, and if necessary send the student home to change.

What happens if the student misses days due to illness?

If a student is sick, they should follow site policies and notification procedures. They also need to notify the university at the same time/as soon as they are able. The student should make up missed time and work within the placement, particularly if they miss more than one or two days. Please track missed time and record it on the final evaluation form (Clinical Appraisal From). Please contact the university ( if sick time is disruptive to client care, creating unreliable service or preventing evaluation of the student.

What is the policy if a student asks for a day or time off?

Students are expected to attend all work hours for the duration of the placement. 100% attendance is expected from all students while on clinical placement. Students need to obtain approval from the ACCE for any absence requests before approaching the clinical educator for time off. Students are expected to organize medical appointments outside of placement hours. The attendance policy is in the handbook.

How do I know what the students have learned prior to beginning a placement?

The CSD sequence of study outlines courses, content and timelines. CSD students will have completed all academic coursework prior to starting externship placements. They are able to work with any population, diagnostic area and in any setting. Each course outline highlights specific learning objectives and skills targeted in each course. CEs can refer students back to their coursework, have them research clinical areas, and provide students with specific readings or resources to complete. Clinically, students have also completed an Introduction to Clinical Practice course (CSD 530) and 2 part time introductory clinical experience courses (CSD 524 & 525) prior to externships. The students also have a Clinical Learning Plan which highlights personal clinical growth and goal areas identified from previous clinical experiences.

What do I do when a student says "We haven't covered that" or "I don't know that" about a condition or skill that I assume they should know?

Please refer them back to their course content and set out your expectations for the placement; that they will need to enhance their learning in certain areas and come prepared in order to pass the placement. This speaks to the heart of professional behavior and students should be proactive and engaged in self learning.

What are some strategies for dealing with a student who makes the same types of errors repeatedly even after several corrections and demonstrations?

We all have different learning styles. It may be helpful to find out the best method for the student to learn the techniques or information. Clearly outline placement expectations. For example: "I am going to demonstrate this technique today, I expect you to practice it at home (role play/practice with family or friends), and the next time you use it in placement I will expect that you are able to do it with minimal guidance and input from me". If they are still unable to demonstrate competencies or skills after adjustments to teaching and providing clarity, and are at risk of failing, inform the student and contact the university (

What do I do when the student and I have a "personality clash"?

On many occasions personality clashes have to do with communication. Sit down with the student and find out why the communication is breaking down and how it may be resolved. It may be around learning/communication styles or possibly the student is dealing with some issues outside of the placement. The students will be expected to adapt to different styles of teaching and learning, but it may be more beneficial for both parties to find a middle ground. It is also beneficial to keep the focus on the expectations of the placement and competencies to be developed to entry-to-practice. Remind and encourage the student to focus on the client and the goals of the placement and to move forward. If you are unable to resolve the problem please do not hesitate to contact the university ( so that strategies may be developed to deal with the problem.

I am having a really stressful time with this student; the student arrives late, seems disinterested and does not communicate well. I have tried to help them, what do I do?

Professional behavior is at the core of the program. Provide direct feedback to the student on any unprofessional behavior you observe and set clear expectations for the placement. Competencies from the CAF and SLP National Competency Profile  can be used as supports for identifying expected behaviors. The Corbett Clinic: Behaviors of Professionalism is another resource that can be useful in this situation. Ensure students understand that should their behavior not improve dramatically, they could fail the placement. Reaching out to the university ( is advised in this case.

I have an exceptional student who has been a pleasure to have. Is there a way to reward them for that?

You may consider giving them a credit with exceptional performance (CR+). The student's transcript will read as Credit (CR) but this will let the student know that they have performed well above the standard expected of them. You may also consider a nomination for the Student Clinician Award. Please contact for more information.

What is the Student Clinician Award?

This award recognizes and celebrates outstanding achievement in clinical placements. Nominations will be solicited from clinicians by the Academic Coordinators of Clinical Education following the final placements. Adjudication of the award will be conducted by the Collaborative for Scholarship in Clinical Education (CSCE) committee. Each award recipient will receive a certificate of accomplishment and a monetary prize. The award will be presented at the convocation ceremony for each department.

How do I evaluate the student?

The Clinical Externship Handbook, Clinical Appraisal Form and course outlines have information specific to evaluation and supervision. Should you still need assistance, please contact us ( so we can support you further.

What happens when a student receives a credit with reservation (CR-)?

The student will receive credit on their academic transcript. However, the student may be required to follow a specific plan in the next placement, conditions may be placed on the next placement, and/or the student may be required to complete supplemental supervised clinical experiences in certain areas in order to further consolidate relevant competencies. The clinician may make recommendations in what areas the student requires additional experience to meet the standards of our profession.

What happens when a student fails a placement?

The student will receive No Credit (NC) on their academic transcript. The student will be required to repeat the course by completing another placement, usually with the same client population and in a similar setting.