Although the Care Quality Commission has moved away from a prescriptive approach to supervision in recent years, no longer requiring providers to undertake six supervisions a year for all staff, this change in expectation should not be used as a means to cut back on the level of supervision you provide. Rather, it can be used as an opportunity to innovate and take an approach to supervision that delivers real results, rather than simply going through the motions at each supervision meeting.
Using observational supervision as an additional supervision tool will provide you with an opportunity to monitor standards and drive performance upwards amongst your ‘hands on’ staff, rather than simply discussing their progress away from the delivery of care – the most important aspect of their role.
Read on to learn more about the benefits of observational supervision and how it can transform the performance of your team.
Traditionally, supervision involves supervisor and supervisee meeting to discuss issues at pre-agreed intervals. Although this system has its benefits, the participants can easily fall into a ‘comfort zone’ with the process being reduced to an opportunity to take a breather and offload. However, observational supervision involves the supervisor actually observing the supervisee as they go about their work in order to provide guidance, support and advice. By being present and able to provide prompt and constructive feedback, you will be able to encourage the supervisee to reflect on their practice in order to improve their performance in future.
5 Steps to Use Observational Supervision to Achieve Outstanding Care
- Explain your approach: You should first ensure your staff understand the purpose of observational supervision and how it will work to benefit them and the people in their care. Understanding that the aim is not to ‘catch them out’ but to support them will help to ensure they are more relaxed and confident during the process.
- Set clear objectives: Prior to each observational supervision, agree with the supervisee the purpose of the session and what you hope to achieve. You may choose to supervise a very specific aspect of your supervisee’s practice e.g. moving and handling or you may want to take a broader approach.
- Provide constructive feedback: Make sure feedback is offered appropriately in a way that does not undermine the confidence of the supervisee. On some occasions, offering feedback during the supervision can be helpful but it may be better to wait until the session is complete and discuss what went well (or less well) in private.
- Record each session: As with any supervision you should keep notes, although with this approach, this will involve recording actual observations as well as discussions. The copy given to the supervisee should include helpful advice and links to sources of information to support good practice.
- Outline the benefits: Feeling ‘under the microscope’ can be stressful, so ensure you explain the benefits of each session to the supervisee. When you observe improvements, offer praise and encouragement and when good practice is observed, that can be shared with others. Highlight this as a benefit of the observational supervision process.