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Clinical supervision has been identified as a high priority for the Alcohol, Tobacco and other Drug workforce.

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Clinical supervision is usually a collaboration between an experienced practitioner and one or more less experienced practitioners, or two between equally experienced practitioners.  It is aimed at developing clinical skills through regular exploration of the supervisee’s work with clients.

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Clinical supervision should not be confused with line supervision which focuses on day to day issues and performance.  Best practice clinical supervision utilises supervisors external to the organisation.

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Benefits of clinical supervision include:

  • Support for the supervisee in maintaining and developing clinical skills
  • Increased job satisfaction and confidence, which can enhance worker retention

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Setting up a clinical supervision program involves:

Planning

  • Identify your goals and document your organisational policy
  • Who are the supervisors and supervisees and how can you best match them?
  • Provision of support for the supervisors, including sufficient training

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Implementing

  • Ensure that guidelines are followed, including the boundaries for clinical supervision and confidentiality
  • Building solid relationships between supervisors and supervisees
  • Planning regular clinical supervision that incorporates the supervisee’s learning goals

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Evaluating

  • Are the goals being achieved and has the program met the expectations of those involved?
  • Is work practice improved?

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For more information on clinical supervision, refer to chapter 2 in NCETA’s Theory Into Practice Strategies, which expands on these points, and provides other useful information and tools.