A Blog by Dr Jane Still: The provision and effectiveness of clinical supervision for psychiatry trainees in a large mental health trust, Norfolk and Suffolk Foundation Trust (NSFT)

Jane stillAll trainees in Psychiatry have an approved clinical supervisor. The aim of my research was to evaluate the effectiveness of clinical supervision for psychiatry trainees in the Norfolk and Suffolk Foundation Trust with reference to the General Medical Council’s Competency Framework and Training Requirements.
The research focused on the impact of general support and models of supervision for trainees and the effectiveness of Clinical Supervisors from all localities across the Trust at delivering competencies laid out by the GMC.
The study took place between August 2015 and February 2016. However, further work is been undertaken as several new themes arose during the study.

My Methods
Online questionnaires were circulated to all Foundation Trainees, Core Trainees, GP Trainees, Specialist Registrars and Clinical Supervisors across the Trust. This allowed for feedback on the nature of supervision, areas of strength and areas for improvement. Exit interviews were conducted with a sample of Foundation Trainees. This was a fascinating process and allowed me to gather far richer data than could be obtained with the online questionnaire alone. Questions focussed on induction, patient care and support received both as a newly qualified doctor and as a doctor new to psychiatry.
End of placement feedback forms were used to evaluate the quality of placements and of supervision across a range of services including General Adult, Old Age and subspecialties available to Psychiatry Core Trainees.

My Results
There was a pleasing response rate to the online questionnaire by trainees and Clinical Supervisors of over 60%. The vast majority of trainee respondents have a weekly, supervised meeting as part of their timetable lasting 30 minutes or over. The content of supervision ranged from discussions around patient care, safety and critical incidents to pastoral care and coping with emotional stress. Following thematic analysis of exit interviews with Foundation Trainees a main area for improvement was induction into the trust and specific job roles.

My Conclusions
Feedback on GMC standards showed that Clinical Supervisors were effective in their delivery of all competences.
Quantitative and qualitative analysis demonstrated that clinical supervision is highly valued by all trainees across the Norfolk and Suffolk Foundation Trust. Clinical Supervisors are well placed to fulfill the requirements outlined by the GMC.

Moving Forward
Areas for development include induction for all trainees, improving training and support for Foundation Trainees and protection of supervisory time for Clinical Supervisors. I am also looking at how data gathered from the trainee feedback forms can be used to inform the appraisal process for Clinical Supervisors.

Jane Still completed her research as part of the CLAHRC academic apprenticeship scheme. For further information about the scheme and other CLAHRC Capacity Building Initiatives please visit Capacity Building.

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