Implementing the Supportive Supervision Intervention for Registered Nurses in a Long-Term Care Home: A Feasibility Study


  • Katherine S. McGilton RN, PhD,

    Corresponding author
    1. Research Scientist, E.W. Bickle Centre, Toronto Rehabilitation Institute, and Lawrence S. Bloomberg Faculty of Nursing, Toronto, Ontario, Canada
    • Address correspondence to Katherine McGilton, RN, PhD, Senior Scientist, Toronto Rehabilitation Institute-UHN, 130 Dunn Avenue, Room N236, Toronto, Ontario, M6K 2R7, Canada;

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  • Joanne Profetto-McGrath RN, PhD,

    1. Professor and Vice Dean, Faculty of Nursing, University of Alberta, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada
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  • Angela Robinson BA, MA

    1. Doctoral Student, York University, Toronto, Ontario, Canada
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This pilot study was conducted in response to the call in 2009 by the International Association of Gerontology and Geriatrics to focus on effective leadership structures in nursing homes and to develop leadership capacity. Few researchers have evaluated interventions aimed at enhancing the leadership ability of registered nurses in long-term care.


The aim of the pilot study was to test the feasibility of a three-part supportive supervisory intervention to improve supervisory skills of registered nurses in long-term care.


A repeated measures group design was used. Quantitative data were collected from healthcare aides, licensed practical nurses (i.e., supervised staff), and registered nurses (i.e., supervisors). Focus groups with care managers and supervisors examined perceptions of the intervention.


There were nonsignificant changes in both the registered nurse supervisors’ job satisfaction and the supervised staff's perception of their supervisors’ support. Supervised staff scores indicated an increase in the use of research utilization but did not reflect an increase in job satisfaction. Focus group discussions revealed that the supervisors and care managers perceived the workshop to be valuable; however, the weekly self-reflection, coaching, and mentoring components of the intervention were rare and inconsistent.


While the primary outcomes were not influenced by the Supportive Supervision Intervention, further effort is required to understand how best to enhance the supportive supervisory skills of RNs. Examples of how to improve the possibility of a successful intervention are advanced.


Effective supervisory skills among registered nurses are crucial for improving the quality of care in long-term care homes. Registered nurses are receptive to interventions that will enhance their roles as supervisors.