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Keywords:

  • clinical supervision;
  • staff morale;
  • reflection;
  • clinical practice;
  • mentorship;
  • counselling;
  • policy

An exploratory study, funded by the Department of Health, London and the Scottish Home and Health Department, Edinburgh, was conducted over an 18-month period to provide an informed view on possible assessment tools that could be used to assess the impact of clinical supervision (CS) in nursing and to report on the CS activities in 23 selected sites in England and Scotland. The study not only examined the utility of several standardized research instruments, to be reported separately, but also explored the experience of a small sub-sample of nurses (n=34) engaged in CS, as supervisors and supervisees. Interviews were undertaken to help better understand some of the issues involved around the domains of structure, process and outcome. Respondents reported an enthusiasm for the opportunity to talk meaningfully to a trusted colleague about their personal circumstances at work. Such opportunities were particularly welcomed by nurses who wished to reflect upon their own practice with patients, especially when dealing with their clinical conditions which were upsetting, or otherwise challenging, and sometimes harrowing. Substantive and methodological areas of interest for future research are suggested.