There is a strong national driver from the Care Quality Commission and the Nursing & Midwifery Council around the provision of clinical supervision. This has long been recognised as vital in supporting staff in palliative care with the emotional labour of work (Goodrich, Harrison, Cornwell, et al., 2015) and helps develop a learning culture which improves patient safety and care (Francis, 2013). During the pandemic, where high levels of staff stress (Pastrana, De Lima, Pettus, et al., 2021) have led to moral injury and burnout, clinical supervision is all the more important.
With the development of a supervision policy, we recognised certain groups of hospice staff were not accessing clinical supervision regularly and it was mainly provided externally. The project, led by the education department, set out to utilise the skills and experience of existing staff to create additional supervisors and began by running lunchtime workshops to engage interest. Over half the 230 staff at the hospice were clinicians, of which 15 attended two days of training led by the head of family support and consultant clinical psychologist. It included theory, practice, managing group dynamics and how to facilitate supervision remotely using video conferencing. Staff from different disciplines attended including therapists, nurses, social workers and counsellors. Bi-monthly meetings were arranged to support the group.
It has led to increasing the availability of supervision with seven of those who attended training now offering regular group supervision and drop-in sessions to our inpatient staff, living well team and non-clinical staff who have patient contact. Initial findings from surveying those who offered and received supervision suggest greater inter-disciplinary work and improved staff satisfaction. We discuss the results in terms of the resilience of our workforce in the context of pandemic, potential financial benefits and further opportunities and challenges.
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