A systematic review of evidence relating to clinical supervision for nurses, midwives and allied health professionals

Alex Pollock, Pauline Campbell, Ruth Deery, Mick Fleming, Jeanie Rankin, Graham Sloan, Helen Cheyne

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article

13 Citations (Scopus)
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Aim: To systematically review evidence relating to clinical supervision for nurses, midwives and allied health professionals.

Background: Since 1902 statutory supervision has been a requirement for UK midwives, but this is due to change. Evidence relating to clinical supervision for nurses and allied health professions could inform a new model of clinical supervision for midwives.

Design: A systematic review with a contingent design, comprising a broad map of research relating to clinical supervision and two focussed syntheses answering specific review questions.

Review Methods: Systematic reviews evaluating the effectiveness of clinical supervision were included in Synthesis 1. Primary research studies including a description of a clinical supervision intervention were included in Synthesis 2. Quality of reviews were judged using a risk of bias tool and review results summarised in tables. Data describing the key components of clinical supervision interventions were extracted from studies included in Synthesis 2,
categorised using a reporting framework and a narrative account provided.

Results:Ten reviews were included in Synthesis 1; these demonstrated an absence of convincing empirical evidence and lack of agreement over the nature of clinical supervision. Nineteen primary studies were included in Synthesis 2; these highlighted a lack of consistency and large variations between delivered interventions.

Conclusion: Despite insufficient evidence to directly inform the selection and implementation of a framework, the limited available evidence can inform the design of a new model of clinical supervision for UK-based midwives.

Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Advanced Nursing
Early online date8 Feb 2017
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 8 Feb 2017



  • clinical supervision
  • Midwives
  • Nurses
  • allied health professionals
  • literature review
  • systematic review

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