Handout 7 � Clinical Supervision � What is it by homers


									                   Clinical Supervision – What is it?

Clinical supervision is a fairly new concept for many health professionals.
It’s now seen as one of the foundation stones of reflective practice – a
reliable way of getting support, learning from experience, and developing
aspirations to improve professional practice. Supervisors too learn from
their supervisees, and for both partners this activity is part of personal

Not only that, it can be surprising; it can stretch us, engage us and, with
luck, be immensely enjoyable. If we use it well, it can help us to work
smarter, more compassionately, and more effectively with our colleagues
and our patients.

Put simply, it’s a structured way of talking with another person or persons
about your personal approach to work. It’s not to be confused with line
management or operational supervision. This is not about how you
manage your caseload or meet external objectives. It’s about you as a
professional practitioner.

Some of the characteristics of clinical supervision:

    A regular, predictable meeting in protected time – with a supervisor
     and/or a peer or group.
    Focused on the supervisee’s ideas about their work.
    Supervisee-led.
    Confidential – under most circumstances.
    Can be 1:1 with a trained supervisor; in a group of peers with a
     trained supervisor; in a group of peers; live supervision with
     practitioner and patients.
    Depending on internal policies, may be mandatory or optional.
    Should be supported by managers and Trust.
    A professional relationship with a contract that you both/all agree

How a simple form of clinical supervision might look:

You and a member of your department, who has had some training as a
clinical supervisor, meet and agree to work together in a supervisory
relationship. You meet together privately in work time for an hour every
2 months. You discuss various work issues, mostly about patients but
occasionally about other issues such as the influence of a new member of
the team or your efforts to master a new piece of equipment.

Your supervisor listens well, summarises what you have said sometimes,
asks respectful questions, and helps you develop ideas. He clearly has
faith in your ability. Sometimes he offers a piece from a professional
journal if he thinks you might be interested, or draws your attention to a
conference coming up, although he has no power to influence the training
You have agreed that if he is ever concerned about your practice in any
way you will talk together about what should happen; fortunately this has
never been the case. You always come out feeling more positive and
excited about your work and with new ideas to try. Often you find you and
your supervisor are breaking new ground together which you would never
have reached otherwise. You find you are steadily becoming bolder and
more effective in your patient care, with the sense that your supervisor is
backing you.

Another way of doing it: peer supervision

Several members of your team agree to meet for two hours on the
quietest work afternoon of the week, once every six weeks. You structure
the time so that each person has a slot in which they can talk about work
in some way. It may be a problem situation with a patient, a different
treatment you’re trying out, a successful way of managing the list,
something interesting you learned on a course and want to apply . . .

Someone keeps time, and the others listen carefully and then ask
respectful questions or make comments, while being careful not to whisk
the conversation away from the ‘supervisee’. Eventually that person sums
up what has been useful about their time, and the focus passes to
another. You are learning to trust one another and find the group
valuable; you are all gaining confidence from airing matters that were
seldom talked about before.

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