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Good characteristics of a clinical supervisor: a community mental health nurse perspective

Authors

  • Graham Sloan BSc(Hons) RMN RGN DipN DipCogPsychotherapy

    1. Clinical Nurse-Specialist: Cognitive and Behavioural Psychotherapy, Consulting and Clinical Psychology Services, Ayrshire and Arran Community Health Care Trust and Research Student, Department of Nursing and Community Health, Glasgow Caledonian University, Glasgow, Scotland
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Graham Sloan Strathdoon House, 50 racecourse Road, Ayr, Scotland. E-mail: graham@sloan21.freeserve.co.uk

Abstract

Good characteristics of a clinical supervisor: a community mental health nurse perspective

A qualitative methodology was adopted using a questionnaire and focus group to identify characteristics of a good supervisor from a supervisee perspective (staff nurses working in a mental health setting). Findings from the questionnaire and focus group were used as a basis for the nominal group technique to establish a prioritization of those characteristics identified. Thematic content analysis of the focus group generated five major categories: who provides clinical supervision; what happens during supervision; factors affecting the choice of supervisor; characteristics of a good clinical supervisor; and limitations caused as a result of how supervision is conducted. The ability to form supportive relationships, having relevant knowledge/clinical skills, expressing a commitment to providing supervision, and having good listening skills were perceived by the staff nurses as important characteristics of their supervisor. Supervisees viewed their supervisor as a role model, someone who they felt inspired them, whom they looked up to and had a high regard for their clinical practice and knowledge base. Nonetheless, limitations to the supervisory process were identified. Having their clinical supervisor allocated to them, their supervisor also being their manager, and having supervision sessions documented and stored by this manager threatened the full utility of the clinical supervision. In this paper three categories will be discussed: what happens during clinical supervision; good qualities of a clinical supervisor; and limitations caused as a result of how clinical supervision is conducted. In light of the study’s findings, recommendations are offered to develop the provision of clinical supervision.

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