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Cross-profession supervision and multiple supervisors

Cross-profession supervision and multiple supervisors - Ellie



Ellie is a registered Operating Department Practitioner (ODP), who recently started a new job at an NHS Trust. As part of her contract of employment, Ellie is expected to administer drugs intravenously. However, as Ellie has never conducted this task before, Ellie recognises that she will need further training and support to demonstrate her competence.

Ellie approaches her employer to help identify a suitable supervisor, who put her in contact with Sophie, a registered paramedic. While Sophie is not a member of the same profession as Ellie, Sophie has been trained to administer drugs intravenously and has over 5 years of experience working in emergency care.

How did Ellie and Sophie approach the supervision?

Sophie and Ellie arrange to have an introductory meeting in a private space, to discuss Ellie’s learning needs and to identify the most appropriate means of supervision. From this, Sophie is confident that she has the requisite knowledge, skills and experience to effectively supervise Ellie for the task at hand.

After a period of direct observation, Sophie is confident that Ellie is competent to carry out the task independently. Ellie and Sophie build a strong and positive working relationship, and Ellie feels that she can really trust Sophie. Ellie therefore asks her employer if she can continue to meet with Sophie for regular professional supervision, to which they agree.

As a registered paramedic, Sophie decides to reach out to other senior ODP at the GP practice, to gain a better understanding into the profession and to identify any potential limitations to the supervision she can provide. From this, Sophie feels confident in her ability to supervise Ellie, and they agree to meet once every two weeks.

Over the course of their supervision, Ellie identifies another clinical task that she needs assistance with. Sophie and Ellie discuss the task in detail, to understand its nature and complexity and to identify the level of supervision required. From this discussion, Sophie recognises that this would fall outside of her scope of practice, as she herself has not undertaken further education or training in this area. She therefore advises Ellie that she is unable to provide supervision for this.

Sophie assists Ellie in finding an alternative supervisor named Sebastian, a senior ODP at a nearby NHS Trust, with over 15 years’ experience. While meeting with Sebastian, Ellie continues to meet Sophie regularly as agreed.

Ellie meets with Sebastian to discuss her learning needs and their supervisory approach. As she has multiple supervisors, Ellie makes sure that she sets clear learning objectives and boundaries for the supervision session with Sebastian. Ellie continues to keep accurate and clear records of both supervision meetings, so that she can submit this as part of her CPD profile later on that year.

How did Sophie effectively supervise?

Supervision doesn’t have to be provided by a person in the same profession. However, when this does happen, it’s important that the supervisor has the appropriate skills, knowledge and experience to conduct the supervision required.

By taking the time to understand Ellie’s learning needs, Sophie was able to confirm whether she had the appropriate scope of practice to supervise Ellie safely and effectively. This was essential in order to uphold patient safety, but it also ensured that Ellie had the appropriate level of support and oversight to learn and achieve her intended goals.

How did Ellie effectively approach her supervision?

Supervision can have many different aims, which means that individuals may have different supervisors across their career, or multiple supervisors at once. Setting clear goals and boundaries for her supervision enabled Ellie to get the most out of her sessions with Sophie and Sebastian, and meant that everyone was clear about their own responsibilities.

How did Ellie and Sophie benefit from supervision?

The supervision provided enabled Ellie to improve and expand her practice. As a result, Ellie was able to satisfy the requirements of her new role and increased her confidence in the process.

Both Ellie and Sophie built a strong and positive working relationship. This had great benefits for them personally, as well as positive benefits for their working environment and service users.

Page updated on: 27/09/2021