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Principles of supervision

The following underlying principles are the same for all forms of supervision.

  • Be clear about why there is a need for supervision and who has asked for it.
  • Set a time frame for the supervision session; even a few minutes of focused time can be worthwhile.
  • Protect the time and space where possible and appropriate; try to ensure there will be no interruptions and that there is privacy.
  • Ensure that there is confidentiality; this means working in a place where the supervision cannot be overheard, and sharing identifiable personal details of patients only with those people who really need to know.
  • Think about the seating arrangement; how the chairs are arranged, who sits where and on what kind of chair conveys messages about status and power.
  • Be transparent about the extent to which the supervision is about development or performance; this may need to be renegotiated or stated during the session.

See Teachers’ toolkit: Principles underpinning effective supervision for more information on this.

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