A comparison of us and european conceptualisations of clinical supervision

Authored by: John R. Cutcliffe

Routledge Handbook of Clinical Supervision

Print publication date:  October  2010
Online publication date:  October  2010

Print ISBN: 9780415779555
eBook ISBN: 9780203843437
Adobe ISBN: 9781136912801


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This chapter compares the extent of United States and European nursing literature that focuses on substantive clinical supervision (CS) matters. Examination of this body of work indicates (at least) two principal, differing conceptualisations of the purpose and resultant practice of CS. The chapter points out how the US conceptualisation creates the need for all supervisors to be more ‘expert’ in the particular specialty of nursing than the supervisee; the European conceptualisation posits supervision as a forum for considering the personal, interpersonal and clinical aspects of care so as to develop and maintain nurses who are skilled and reflective practitioners. In such a conceptualisation, this creates the need for supervisors to be effective at supporting nurses in self-monitoring, identifying difficulties in practice and finding the proper place to make good the deficit, not necessarily to be more expert in the particular nursing speciality. The chapter concludes by highlighting and discussing two key issues that emerged from this comparison: does the clinical supervisor of a nurse have to share the same specialty background as the supervisee (the recipient of the CS) and, what are the advantages of cross-discipline supervision?

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