Safe Practice

Clinical Supervision

Clinical supervision can be implemented in different ways depending on a number of factors such as: the type of clinical area, the culture of the organization, staffing ratios and the needs of the staff and management.

Reflecting on clinical supervision

There is no one way to do clinical supervision, but there are a few principles…

  • clinical supervision allows a person to focus on a particular aspect of their clinical practice in a way that they would not normally do
  • it is characterized by reflection on previous action and its implications for future action a clinical supervisor will often challenge the mentee to think outside of their current ways of working
  • the clinical supervisor will offer support and advice the supervisee tends to learn alternative ways of working and specific skills
  • the clinical supervisor will be interested in the quality of the supervisees performance and will offer constructive feedback

(Fowler, 2012)

If you currently access clinical supervision, reflect on how the principles detailed above are out into action.

If you do not currently have access to clinical supervision, reflect on how supervision based on these principles could benefit you.

Record your reflections for your portfolio.

Clinical Supervision

Revise your knowledge of clinical supervision by accessing the following resources:

Professional/Clinical Supervision Handbook for Allied Health Professionals (2010)

NMAHP Supervision: Supporting Learning Environments

Remember, there may be specific requirements for your profession which are mandatory. There may also be information and policy for your Health Board or work setting that you need to adhere to. Find out what is expected of you.

Many professional bodies have produced profession specific resources for clinical supervision. See your professional body's website to find out about the recommendations for your professional group.

A key activity that is integral to clinical supervision is reflective practice. You may want to review what you have learned in the reflective practice unit of Flying Start  NHS®.

Record the supervision requirements and policies that apply to you. How are you going to ensure that you meet these requirements and participate in supervision? Discuss these issues with your mentor. Summarise what you are required to do and how you are going to achieve this for your portfolio.

Reviewing Your Knowledge of Clinical Supervision

With your mentor/KSF reviewer, discuss your learning needs in relation to clinical supervision. This may be in relation to your role in supervision e.g. as the supervisee or supervision, the format of supervision used in your work setting, or (if clinical supervision is not available to you) the benefits of clinical supervision.

Identify and agree what these are and how you can meet them. Your learning needs should be reflected in your Personal Development Plan.

You may work in an area that is not currently participating in clinical supervision. If this is the case, reflect on the benefits that it could bring for you and reflect on local policy. Discuss this with your mentor.

You will find the 'What is Supervision' and 'Participating in Supervision' Pages of the NMAHP Supervision: Supporting Learning Environments and other pages of this community website useful in this activity.

Record your discussion and your reflections on your knowledge of supervision for your portfolio and ensure that your learning needs are included in your Personal development plan.

Social Networking Activity

The Flying Start NHS® community has a wealth of knowledge around how clinical supervision is implemented in the different work settings, and of individual experiences of participation in supervision in differing situations and roles.

What can you share with and learn from the wider Flying Start NHS® community.

Participating in Clinical Supervision

How is clinical supervision is offered within your work setting:

  • is clinical supervision used within your own professional group and/or within the multidisciplinary team?
  • if so, is it mandatory?
  • what format does it take?

If it is not, identify and explore incidents and situations where clinical supervision is or could be used (if it is available to you) to develop knowledge and competence in order to enhance patient care with your mentor. If clinical supervision is not available to you, what sources of support are there that you can draw on?

Ensure you discuss what you have found with your mentor.

You will find that the information you recorded as part of the 'Reviewing Your Knowledge of Clinical Supervision' activity useful here.

Which model of supervision?

There are a range of models (or structural models) of supervision that can be used.

  • what model is used in your team or work setting?
  • what would be the advantages and disadvantages of different models?

The NMAHP Supervision: Supporting Learning Environments resource will give you details of a range of structural models.

Reflect on:

  • how the model used adds value to your experience as a newly qualified practitioner.
  • how a different mode might add value to your experience as a newly qualified practitioner

Discuss your thoughts about clinical supervision with your mentor and consider how different models of supervision might be introduced in your team e.g. group, one-to-one, telephone.

You as a supervisor?

Now that you have learned more about clinical supervision in the activities above, think about how you can develop your supervisory skills and, with your mentor discuss and agree how you can begin to put this into action.

Make an entry for your portfolio and return to it in 3 months to assess your progress and review your action plan if necessary.

Discuss your role in relation to supporting others through clinical supervision with your mentor. Also discuss appropriate CPD you may need for you to be able to provide this support.

Portfolio Activity

Make a portfolio entry which summarises what you have learned about Clinical Supervision. Include how you think that it can make a difference to your practice and any learning needs you have around clinical supervision. Make sure you discuss this with your mentor/supervisor and/or NHS KSF reviewer and that your future learning needs are reflected in your Personal Development Plan. Add an alert to your Flying Start NHS® portfolio and /or make a date in your diary to revisit Clinical Supervision.