Supervision is a fundamental aspect of the role of the senior staff in the care setting.  it is however all too often overlooked in favour of just “getting the job done”.  This is a real shame and very shortsighted as it plays an important role not only in the support and development of staff, but also in service user safety.

Supervision may be a one-to-one undertaking or may occur in a group setting and it is important that senior staff, supervisors, make the time to support and develop their team members, the supervisees.

Supervision is in essence a form of guided reflection in which an experienced staff member directs and supports the learning of a less experienced staff member in a structured and meaningful way. 

The purpose of supervision is to create an environment in which the participant(s) can safely reflect on and evaluate things they have seen and done in the care setting to gain a better understanding and improve their delivery of care.Two nurses undertaking supervision

Supervision plays an important role not only in the development of junior staff, but also in retention.  The support and wisdom gained from it enables new-to-care staff to make sense of the things they see around them and to develop into the role they have chosen.

In this sense, supervision helps to breed not only understanding of the sector, but also resilience.  There is a wealth of literature which suggests it is a good tool for managing staff stress especially where the supervisor demonstrates concern for the wellbeing of the staff member.

Failing to undertake supervision may mean that junior staff are left trying to make sense of challenging decisions on their own.  Taking on these challenges can be daunting and may be the reason many staff leave the sector.  In these days of high vacancies it would be a foolhardy manager who did not ensure supervision happened, if only to bolster their staff retention strategy.

Supervision also builds a bond of trust between the supervisor and supervisee as the content of most supervisions are confidential.  It is a jointStaff seated in a circle undertaken and is done with and not to the supervisee with an exploration of issues via conversation forming the basis of the interaction.

Despite being confidential, supervisors must breach confidences when they discover things which are: Illegal A Safeguarding issue Activity leading to harm or the potential for harm

The frequency of supervision provision is a matter for local policy with many providers settling for 6-8 weekly.  There is no set number of sessions a person should have in England, although the Care Standards Act 2000 (which applies in Wales, Northern Ireland and Scotland) says that the frequency of supervisions should be six times per year for residential care and four times per year for domiciliary settings,

Of course the frequency is not only a matter of blanket policy, but also the experience and needs of the supervisee.  For example a new-to-care staff member may need weekly supervision for some weeks, while an experienced staff member will need it only every couple of months.  Also seniors and managers need to remember it is also useful to debrief teams and staff members after critical incidents in the service and doing so also aids in staff retention and wellbeing.

CAREis,, has a supervision tool which is free to use for all subscribers to any of our apps.  Within the app their are some templates from skills for care, as well as headings under which the record of the interaction can be scored.  It even has a tracker, so staff know when it has happened as well as when the next one is due.

Managers and team leaders can over see the process because they can be invited to view records and stay on top of the development of their team members.

Talk to use at CAREisabout how our products can help support your supervision provision and bolster compliance .