Direct Supervision in Outpatient Psychiatric Graduate Medical Education

Acad Psychiatry. 2016 Feb;40(1):157-63. doi: 10.1007/s40596-014-0247-z. Epub 2014 Nov 26.


Objective: The authors describe a stimulus case that led training staff to examine and revise the supervision policy of the adult and child and adolescent psychiatry clinics. To inform the revisions, the authors reviewed the literature and national policies.

Methods: The authors conducted a literature review in PubMed using the following criteria: Supervision, Residents, Training, Direct, and Indirect and a supplemental review in Academic Psychiatry. The authors reviewed institutional and Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education resident and fellow supervision policies to develop an outpatient and fellow supervision policy.

Results: Research is limited in psychiatry with three experimental articles demonstrating positive impact of direct supervision and several suggesting different techniques for direct supervision. In other areas of medicine, direct supervision is associated with improved educational and patient outcomes. The authors present details of our new supervision policy including triggers for direct supervision.

Conclusions: The term direct supervision is relatively new in psychiatry and medical education. There is little published on the extent of implementation of direct supervision and on its impact on the educational experience of psychiatry trainees and other medical specialties. Direct supervision has been associated with improved educational and patient outcomes in nonpsychiatric fields of medicine. More research is needed on the implementation of, indications for, and effects of direct supervision on trainee education and on patient outcomes.

Keywords: Adolescent psychiatry fellowship; Direct; Indirect; Psychiatry; Residency-Child; Supervision; Training.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Accreditation
  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Ambulatory Care Facilities
  • Child
  • Child Psychiatry / education
  • Education, Medical, Graduate* / methods
  • Education, Medical, Graduate* / organization & administration
  • Humans
  • Internship and Residency*
  • Male
  • Mentors
  • Psychiatry / education*