Clinical supervision (both receiving and giving) has always been part of my mental health nursing practice.
I learnt very early on how important it was to have a space, where I could take time to think about and make sense of my practice, my relationships with those people using the service and with colleagues.
Mike Considine provided my early training to be a supervisor in Christchurch and it was with him that I started my work as a supervisor. He introduced me to poetry as he used it as a teaching tool. I became particularly taken with the work of Mary Oliver and her capacity to put feelings into words in such a helpful way. Wild Geese by Mary Oliver is a poem that continues to resonate with me, reminding me about the importance of compassion for oneself.
I experience clinical supervision as a process that focuses on assisting a person to develop in their health professional practice.
This inevitably involves learning more about oneself as well as developing skills and knowledge. Our capacity to be in a therapeutic relationship with another person, when we work as a health professional, draws on and highlights our personal strengths and weaknesses so we need to know ourselves well.
Clinical supervision is not therapy
but it helps us to develop our ability to reflect on ourselves and our relationships; to make some sense of what is going on between us and others and respond in a thoughtful and therefore more helpful way.
Clinical supervision can also have an educative aspect with the focus being on knowledge and skills as well as developing self-awareness. What a practitioner needs from the supervision will change over time so it’s important to review the supervisory relationship to understand how it can better meet the supervisee’s needs. Like any relationship it takes time to build the trust needed so that a person feels safe to talk about things that do not go well. This means regular supervision is important to allow this trust to develop. As in any relationship, difficulties may arise but it is our capacity to notice these ruptures and work to repair it that makes for a strong supervisory relationship.
To me, high quality supervision is happening when the supervisee has a felt sense of being understood, feels able to raise difficult issues, experiences the relationship as trusting and sets the agenda of each session. It is my task to facilitate this process. You can expect that
I offer supervision in person or via video conferencing technology (Skype or Zoom).
Lynere Wilson PhD. RN