Clinical Supervision: What Managers Need to Know

Nurses need professional support and training throughout their careers to make sure they can meet the demands of modern healthcare. That’s why it’s so important for healthcare facilities and nurse managers to invest in what’s known as clinical supervision.
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Working in healthcare means dealing with the unexpected. Unlike a traditional office job, the role of a nurse is always evolving and expanding. Nurses need professional support and training throughout their careers to make sure they can meet the demands of modern healthcare. That’s why it’s so important for healthcare facilities and nurse managers to invest in what’s known as clinical supervision. This process of mentoring and educating nurses ensures that everyone has the tools and training they need to provide quality care to patients. If you’re working as a nurse manager, learn more about the demands and rewards of clinical supervision.  

What Is Clinical Supervision?

Clinical supervision is a means of training and educating nurses on an ongoing basis. This gives nurses a chance to reflect on their experiences on the job, improve their skills, and find ways to avoid burnout. Clinical supervision may involve meeting one-on-one with nurses, reviewing their performance on the job, and talking with nurses about the struggles and challenges they face when caring for patients. As a nurse manager, you can provide support to your staff members, while fostering a productive learning environment that encourages them to enhance their skills.

Why Clinical Supervision Is So Important

While nurses undergo an extensive training period during their first few weeks on the job, nurses shouldn’t stop learning once they’re acclimated to the position. Healthcare is a tough business that always seems to be influx. That means nurses need to continue their training long after the initial orientation process. Healthcare policy is always changing, patients present new challenges every day, and nurses will need to learn new skills if they want to keep up.

Clinical supervision gives nurses a platform to talk about their experiences on the job, while learning from any mistakes they might’ve made along the way. This isn’t about scolding nurses for their behavior; it’s about creating a safe, professional environment where nurses can learn from their peers and supervisors.

Nurses can also use this time to talk about their frustrations with the job. You can offer feedback and advice on how nurses can overcome these challenges and avoid compassion fatigue and burnout. Nurses will likely encounter all kinds of physically demanding and morally complex situations on the job, and if they don’t have a means of talking about and reflecting on these experiences, their job performance may start to suffer. Being an effective manager means listening to your staff members, creating an open dialogue, and working to address these challenges head on.

The Challenges of Implementing Clinical Supervision

As effective as this process can be, making time for clinical supervision is often easier said than done. Nurses and nurse managers have a lot on their plate with many of them dealing with multiple crises at once. Losing sight of the value of clinical supervision is all too easy when you have other priorities to deal with. Nurses are usually overworked as it is and finding time to listen and respond to their experiences can be an uphill challenge, especially if you’re already dealing with budget cuts, staffing issues and other managerial headaches.

In addition to these time constraints, clinical supervision is often inefficient when managers defer to their facility’s power structure instead of creating an open dialogue with their staff members. Even if you’re working with limited resources and you’re short on time, remember that clinical supervision is about listening to your staff members with an open mind, not just handing out orders. Put yourself in the shoes of your staff members and try to mentor them as individuals, not cogs in a machine.

Make clinical supervision an integral part of your management style and you’ll see your staff members grow and thrive on the job as time goes on. Listen to their concerns with an open mind and look for ways to help them hone their skills. You won’t fully understand the needs and challenges of your department unless you’re willing to hear what your staff members have to say. Make time for clinical supervision and become the manager you always wanted to be.

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Zach Smith

Zach Smith

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