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Keywords:

  • clinical supervision;
  • group sessions;
  • nurses;
  • nursing;
  • reflective practice;
  • staff support

Aims.  The aim of this study was to elicit clinical supervisors’ and supervisees’ experiences of clinical supervision while undertaking MSc/Graduate Diploma Programme in Renal and Urological Nursing.

Background.  Formal systems of clinical supervision have not been implemented in the Republic of Ireland. There is a growing awareness of their effectiveness in enhancing analytic skills and in helping to retain staff in clinical practice. Clinical supervision was incorporated in the MSc/Graduate Diploma Programme to enhance professional growth and development for students.

Design.  A qualitative descriptive research design was used in this study.

Methods.  A purposive sample of 10 Registered Nurses participated in the study; five were clinical supervisors and the other five were supervisees. The study was undertaken at a large teaching hospital in the Republic of Ireland. Data were collected by semi-structured interviews and analysed using content analysis.

Results.  Following data analysis, six major categories emerged. These were, ‘positive aspects’‘negative aspects’, ‘factors, which had an impact on the process of clinical supervision’, ‘support’, ‘formal systems of clinical supervision’, ‘reflective practice in groups’.

Conclusions.  There was a general feeling that clinical supervision was a good experience for many members of this study group. The concept of clinical supervision was perceived as an inappropriate term to encompass the complexity of the clinical supervision sessions. This begs the question: is clinical supervision a practice with no name or should it be called something else? Giving a practice an appropriate name may empower registered nurses to implement this practice with confidence.

Relevance to clinical practice.  The findings of this study have implications for management and for the clinical environment, in terms of supporting and preparing practitioners to develop their critical and analytic skills.