Group-format clinical supervision for hospice nurses

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Abstract

This paper discusses the aspects of a small research study, which used mixed research methods. The study concerned group-format supervision as a means of helping five hospice nurses, four women and one man, discuss their work experiences. An aim of the study was to understand something of the professional work of hospice nurses and how they might best be supported. Ethical considerations and some benefits derived by group members from clinical supervision are summarized in the context. The research method entailed 12 sessions of group-format clinical supervision. The discussion explores the forming, management and dynamics of a small clinical supervision group. Hospice work is emotionally demanding of nurses. Nurses throughout this small study thought over issues concerning serious illness, death and bereavement, as well as working together as a supervision group. Group-format supervision is potentially helpful to nurses examining professional practice. However, group work can be as challenging to participants as it is helpful. The discussion concludes with an appraisal of the potential gains for nurses from clinical supervision in group-format. This paper proposes that supervision groups could help hospice nurses to identify and explore issues related to professional practice. Adequate preparation of nurses, organizational support and the competency of group facilitators should be considered critical to safe and effective management of professional groups.

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