Some do’s and don’ts of clinical supervision

Professor Emeritus Tony Butterworth CBE, FoNS Vice President

Clinical supervision is on the march again. Through programmes offered by FoNS or the emerging work from nurse advocates there is no doubt that it is gaining ground again. Here are some do’s and don’ts’ when thinking about clinical supervision


  1. Look at the literature before you begin – its’ been around since the 1990s and it will tell you all you need to know
  2. Make sure that the supervisor and the supervisees are properly prepared and have some sort of agreement to work together
  3. Make time for regular clinical supervision in your diary – it should not be an ‘add on’ or an afterthought
  4. Talk to people who have experienced it and learn from them, their experiences, their joys and problems
  5. Give it chance to succeed – it takes time to form a relationship and share experiences confidently
  6. Challenge employers who say it’s not available, it should now be part of normal professional practice for nurses and midwives


  1. Search for the ‘perfect way’ of doing clinical supervision – it doesn’t exist although some may tell you otherwise
  2. Use a system that feels too uncomfortable for you, but remember, clinical supervision still needs to be challenging to you and your everyday working practice
  3. Let people who are not in practice confuse you with managerial oversight – that is not clinical supervision

We’d like to thank Tony for sharing his thoughts.

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