Skills of Clinical Supervision for Nurses: A Practical Guide for Supervisees, Clinical Supervisors, and Managers

By Meg Bond; Stevie Holland | Go to book overview

1
The surface picture:
the development and value
of clinical supervision

This chapter gives a brief overview of the context of clinical supervision in nursing today. We focus on the sources and development of ideas within it and the perceived value of implementing clinical supervision for both individual practitioners and the organisation as a whole. Fuller accounts of the principles, aims, models of clinical supervision are given elsewhere (Butterworth and Faugier 1992; Kohner 1994; Fowler 1996). Our aim is to highlight aspects of this development which we believe will ensure fundamental and effective change and a healthier work environment.


What exactly Is clinical supervision?

Since clinical supervision is a relationship between human beings, it is difficult to pinpoint exactly in one succinct definition what it is about. The variety of helping relationships have much in common, from work-based relationships such as practitioner/client and support between colleagues, to personal relationships such as friendships and family interactions. They all aim towards meeting basic human needs, and when reduced to their basic components, look very much alike.

There are as many written definitions of clinical supervision as there are published books and papers on the subject: each author highlights the elements which are most important to them. Before we add our own definition, we would like to highlight some of the loaded meanings that the term clinical supervision seems to have for nurses. These loaded meanings come to the fore fairly soon in any discussion between nurses about clinical supervision and we feel it is important to acknowledge them before presenting an ideal alternative.

First, ‘clinical’ may be an uncomfortable prefix for many practitioners engaged in health care, who may believe it to be too embedded in a medical model approach. Minimalist interpretations of ‘clinical’ may ensure that only the ‘what’ and ‘how’ of immediate technical aspects of care are emphasised;

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