The effectiveness of clinical supervision in nursing: An evidenced based literature review

Publication Type:
Journal Article
Australian Journal of Advanced Nursing, 2008, 25 (3), pp. 86 - 94
Issue Date:
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Objective: Clinical supervision (CS) is attracting attention in the Australian nursing context with efforts underway to embed CS into mental health settings and to extend it to the general nursing population. The purpose of this paper is to review the available evidence regarding the effectiveness of CS in nursing practice in order to inform these efforts. Method: Relevant literature was located by first accessing research articles in peer-reviewed publications that related to CS and nursing. A total of 32 articles were retrieved. In selecting articles for review, the following criteria were then applied: the article reported an evaluation of the effectiveness of CS; the participants in the study included qualified nurses (not students or generic health care workers); the approach to CS was clearly described; and, the method of data collection and analysis, either quantitative and/or qualitative, was explained in detail. Results: Of the 32 studies identified in the literature 22 studies met the inclusion criteria. One feature that differentiated the studies was research method, for example, pre-post design; and, articles were initially grouped by method. The reported outcomes of the studies were then categorised according to Proctor's three functions of CS. The results of the studies demonstrated that all three functions, restorative, normative and formative, were evident. The restorative function was noted slightly more frequently than the other two functions. Conclusions: There is research evidence to suggest that CS provides peer support and stress relief for nurses (restorative function) as well a means of promoting professional accountability (normative function) and skill and knowledge development (formative function).
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