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New clinical supervision programme to improve staff wellbeing

21 Feb 2013

An innovative programme, launched this month, will help mental health staff cope with job-related stress and it could improve patient care, reduce employee sickness absence and boost wellbeing and morale.

“This programme is excellent news for our patients, nurses and occupational therapists,” says Consultant Forensic Nurse, John Carthy, who is leading the programme.

“It has been widely reported that mental health staff who work with patients who have severe and enduring mental health needs are known to be at risk of occupational stress and burnout. The positive relationship between good quality supervision and lower levels of stress among health professionals, leading to improved outcomes for patients is widely recognised. For their own benefit and that of their patients, mental health staff should have access to regular clinical supervision.

“The project will evaluate our existing clinical supervision for all 1,769 nurses and occupational therapists. We’ll then work with the project team to design a new policy to strengthen clinical supervision so that it reflects the latest research evidence along with any findings from our study. Our aim is to make sure nurses and occupational therapists have regular access to evidence-based, high quality clinical supervision.

“We will provide supervisor training involving key nurses and occupational therapists from across the Trust in preparation for piloting the new clinical supervision programme later this year. This will be followed by further training sessions for all of our nurses and occupational therapists to embed our new supervision process in all areas of the Trust.”

The new programme includes introducing a tool (the Manchester Clinical Supervision Scale) which will enable the trust to properly monitor the outcomes of clinical supervision in terms of benefits to staff wellbeing and patient outcomes.

The programme will be supported by leading international experts in clinical supervision, Dr Edward White and Dr Julie Winstanley (Directors, Osman Consulting Pty Ltd, Sydney, Australia) and Brigid Proctor (independent consultant and author of the Proctor Model of Clinical Supervision).

Joe Ayres, who is Head of Occupational Therapy at Broadmoor Hospital, says: “This is a very exciting opportunity for us to influence clinical practice across the Trust, which I have no doubt will improve the patient experience and patient outcomes as well as contributing to improved staff wellbeing.”

About clinical supervision

Clinical supervision is a process that enables mental health staff to evaluate, reflect and develop their own clinical practice and create a support system for colleagues. Clinical supervision identifies needs and provides empathetic support to improve therapeutic skills. It identifies how knowledge of good practice can be shared and encourages reflective practice as a means to improve clinical skills.

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