The aim of this prospective longitudinal study was to perform a large-scale investigation over a longer period of time, to evaluate changes in the effects of process-oriented group supervision (PGS) as reported by female and male nursing students undergoing a 3-year nursing education. The study included nursing students (n = 183) who were followed during their 3-year study period in relation to their participation in PGS.
Methods: A questionnaire consisting of three subscales: supportive (six items), educational (six items) and developmental (six items) as well as three items of a socio-demographic character (age, gender and previous experience of healthcare work) was used. Student’s t-test was conducted to compare the educational, supportive and developmental subscales between the first and third year.
Results: Females had a significant increase in the educational subscale (p = 0.018) over the 3-year study period, while no such difference was found for the males (p = 0.733). The female students also exhibited an increase in the supportive subscale (p = 0.031) over the 3-year period, while there was no difference for the male students (p = 0.426). There was also an increase in the developmental subscale for the female students over the 3-year period (p = 0.047) but no significant difference for their male counterparts (p = 0.912). For the study group as a whole, an increased positive effect of supervision was observed in the educational subscale (p = 0.020).
Conclusions: The findings have strengthened the argument for the use of PGS in nursing education. To achieve the goal of PGS, which is supportive, educational and developmental in nature, it is important to bear in mind that the supervision needs of women and men can differ. Further research should therefore map out the supervisees’ experiences and expectations of participating in a single sex group.