Introducing clinical supervision in an actute mental health setting
Clinical supervision (CS) may be loosely defined as an exchange between practicing professionals to enable the development of professional skills (Butterworth & Faugier 1992). Proctor (1986) suggested that it has three main functions: to enhance professional accountability (normative), to increase skills and knowledge (formative), and to facilitate collegial and supportive relationships (restorative). Recent reviews confirm that CS can realize these functions (Brunero & Stein-Parbury 2008; Butterworth et al. 2008). CS has also been associated with reductions in staff burnout (Edwards et al. 2006), increased job satisfaction (Hyrkäs et al. 2006) and the improved mental health of nurses. Clinical supervision in mental health nursing is commonly perceived as a good thing (Mullarkey et al. 2001); however the empirical evidence supporting this claim is limited. Empirical research studies of clinical supervision in mental health nursing are inconclusive when it comes to identifying the most critical factors in the successful implementation of clinical supervision in this area. This paper discusses the introduction of clinical supervision in an acute inpatient setting in Sydney Australia. The most critical factors concerning the introduction of clinical supervision are identified and discussed in detail. The discussion incorporates the perspectives of mental health nurse supervisee’s, clinical supervisors and managers on clinical supervision.