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Keywords:

  • clinical supervision;
  • evaluation;
  • practice nurses

•  This paper presents the findings of an evaluation of a local clinical supervision scheme for practice nurses in Leicestershire, UK.

•  A baseline and a follow-up postal questionnaire were sent to all practice nurses (including supervisors) and general practice senior partners to find out how far the objectives of the local scheme had been met during the first year of implementation. Two focus groups gathered qualitative data about the process of implementation.

•  Twelve months after implementation 12% of practice nurses and over two thirds of GPs reported that they were unaware of the scheme. Forty-three percent of practice nurses did not know who their local supervisor was; most reported that they would like to have known.

•  Eighteen percent of practice nurses reported uptake of supervision through the local scheme. The benefits of involvement were professional development tailored to individual learning needs and regular opportunities to share work-related problems with peers; about a third reported benefits for the practice as well.

•  The existing availability of peer support and time needed to undertake clinical supervision were common reasons given for non-involvement in the scheme. Misconceptions about the purpose of clinical supervision presented further obstacles.

•  At follow-up over half of the practice nurses remained undecided about their future involvement in the scheme.

•  If the benefits associated with clinical supervision are to be realized, the obstacles that currently hinder practice nurses’ involvement need addressing.