INTRODUCTION : The quality of the relationship between postgraduate students and their supervisors
often determines the progress of the students.
BACKGROUND : Successful supervision according to students is associated with the expertise of the
supervisors in research and the academic discipline and their willingness to share their knowledge and
skills with their students. On the other hand supervisors expect their students to be knowledgeable in
research methods and to be able to work to a large extent independently. Contradictory expectation of
supervisors and postgraduate students can cause delays in the progress of students.
AIM: The aim of this study was to explore and describe the aspects of the supervisory
relationship that postgraduate students in nursing science at a selected university in South
METHOD : A qualitative research design with an appreciative inquiry approach was used and 18
students under the guidance of an independent facilitator provided the data during group interviews.
FINDINGS AND DISCUSSION : Specific personal and professional qualities of the supervisors contribute to
a valued supervisory relationship. Regarding personal qualities the supervisors should show their
understanding of the unique circumstances of the students and portray a positive attitude to encourage
them to persevere in challenging times. Supervisors should also be expert researchers who ensure that
the students produce quality dissertations and thesis. The valued relationship refers to an open and
trusting relationship between the students and supervisors.
CONCLUSION : The students‟ appreciation of the research supervisory relationship contributes to the
understanding of the expectations of postgraduate students regarding support that they need to become
scholars in an academic discipline.
IMPLICATIONS FOR NURSING AND HEALTH POLICY : There is a need for continuing professional development
of supervisors to sensitize them about the expectations of students. The students should be orientated
regarding the support that they can expect from their supervisors.