Psychology Courses / Course / Chapter

Clinical Supervision in Nursing

Instructor: Quentin Shires

Quentin has taught psychology and other social science classes at the university level and is considered a doctoral colleague at Capella University.

Learn the importance of clinical supervision and how it can positively impact your nursing skills and assessment techniques. Also, discover the types of clinical supervision and how this process is linked to a higher success rate of patient care.

Nursing Education and Clinical Supervision

Nursing is one of the most important fields in medical care, as nurses work tirelessly on the front lines, tending to and treating their patients with the utmost care and support. In order to become a nurse, there are many educational components that have to be completed. In fact, from a historical perspective, education has always played a pivotal role. Linda Richards became the first nurse to earn a diploma in nursing in the United States in 1873.

Clinical supervision is linked to both education and skill building in the nursing field, and is seen as an activity that allows for reflection between a skilled nursing supervisor and newly seasoned nurses. Throughout each supervision session, both the supervisor and the supervisee build strong relationships that are based on confidentiality, expertise, and respect.

Clinical supervision in nursing allows for nurses to improve skills, increase support, and learn new techniques.

Types of Clinical Supervision

There are a variety of ways that clinical supervision is completed within the nursing field. There are no definitive ways of completing sessions, as it depends largely on where you work and what your employer's policies are. Let's take a look at some different ways that clinical supervision is handled within the workplace.

  • One-to-one supervision.

This type of supervision is strictly between a nurse and a clinical supervisor. In this form of supervision, the nurse and their supervisor will work closely and typically share the same field of specialty, such as emergency room nursing or midwifery.

This type of clinical supervision allows trust to develop between the supervisor and the nurse. They can share feedback on how to improve nursing skills without the judgment of their peers.

  • One-to-one peer supervision.

This type of supervision is between two nurses of equal status, taking it in turns to supervise each other. The benefit of this type of supervision is that there is no supervisor or authority figure in the process, so it encourages independence and the strengthening of problem-solving techniques.

It should be noted that this type of supervision is not appropriate for inexperienced nurses, or nurses that may require a more structured level of clinical supervision.

  • Group supervision.

This type of supervision involves a group of nurses who meet with one clinical supervisor and share important components of their caseloads. For example, each nurse will take turns presenting a case to the group and then receive feedback on how to improve nursing skills or treatment ideas.

This type of supervision allows a nurse to receive multiple perspectives of their case, which in turn provides them with the ability to stay open-minded during the supervision process.

  • Peer group supervision.

Similar to that of one-to-one peer supervision, this style of supervision allows for a group nurses of equal status to meet and discuss their caseloads or challenges they are experiencing. With this type of supervision, the nurses must be careful, as sessions can easily become too informal, taking the attention away from what needs to be discussed.

On the other hand, it allow nurses to discuss their personal experiences without anyone being in charge. This style of supervision can allow each nurse in the group to be more forthcoming with each other as there is no authority figure in the mix.

Policies of the Supervisory Process

In order for each clinical supervision session to not become too informal, there are policies that must be followed for the nurse and the clinical supervisor to stay on task. Remember, if policies are not followed, it can hinder the process, limiting the benefits for the nurse that requires the supervision. Let's look at a few.

1. Commitment to the process. Before meeting on a regular basis, both the supervisor and the supervisee must commit to the process. All parties will be committing to the structure of the meetings, which include possible topics that they will be discussing, as well as length of sessions and they type of supervision that will be taking place.

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