Organisational Support for Clinical Supervision

Developing, supporting and maintaining high quality supervision require commitment at every organisational level and cannot be achieved without active, consistent and positive management support. The administrative support required to create and sustain a clinical supervision framework consists of several steps.

Steps to building a clinical supervision framework within an organisation:

1.  Understand the organisational factors that support good clinical supervision practice.

2. Assess organisational readiness.

3. Consult with clinical staff to encourage staff support and ownership of the framework.

For example, invite ideas about how supervisors should be chosen or assigned; what models and methods of supervision should be used; how evaluation processes should be carried out; and how problems should be resolved.

4. Create internal policy and procedures appropriate to the organisation's context and culture, which establish the aims, structures and processes of supervision.

This companion website and the unabbreviated guidelines are intended to assist in that effort. You can also refer to existing policies from Moreland Hall, PenDAP and Neami which can be found in the Resources section of this website.

5. Give priority in budget and/or seek additional funding to provide clinical supervision.

Supervision has an immediate cost implication but remains a cost-saving measure overall, once the benefits to client care, worker satisfaction, professionalism, retention and quality assurance are taken into account.

6. Recruit or select effective supervisors (including contracting external supervisors).

7. Provide opportunities for ongoing training and consistent support for supervisors, as well as evaluate and provide feedback on their work with supervisees.

Clinical supervisors will benefit from ongoing training and support for their clinical supervision practices and, lacking that, may face frustration, high stress levels and fatigue, as well as potential burnout. It is not only for the wellbeing of supervisors that organisations should make arrangements for professional development, and support for the work of supervision; it is also for the wellbeing of supervisees and clients, and for the accountability of the organisation.

8. Monitor and evaluate the selected framework, including the supervisees' satisfaction with their supervision.

To assist with monitoring and evaluation, the organisation should prepare a set of tools for (a) supervisors evaluating supervisees; (b) supervisees evaluating their supervision; and (c) clinical staff evaluating the framework as a whole.

9. Manage problems that arise is in supervisory relationships that cannot be resolved within the relationship.

10. Address challenges to effective implementation (e.g., rural isolation, access for shift workers, lack of trained supervisors).

Organisational administrators and managers assessing their readiness for adopting a new clinical supervision framework, or improving an existing one, should collaborate with clinical staff regarding barriers they face in their particular service context, and ideas for overcoming them.

9.10 discusses common challenges to effective implementation and provides suggestions for how to overcome these barriers