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A website for young nurses and the young at heart in Aotearoa

Clinical supervision

There are many definitions of professional and clinical supervision but all agree that it is a practice focused professional relationship that enables reflection on practice with the support of a skilled and qualified supervisor.  Professional and clinical supervision facilitates professional growth by allowing safe and supported exploration of clinical practice.

Professional and clinical supervision for Tangata Whenua (Māori) nurses and midwives should not be confused with cultural supervision. Professional and clinical supervision is not personal counselling; mentoring; a performance management strategy; or conducted by a manager or colleagues within the immediate practice area.

Supervision is:

  • An interpersonal, negotiated relationship in which both parties have rights and responsibilities 
  • Accountable – to the organisation and the profession
  • Ethical and confidential
  • Ongoing and regular (a process rather than an event)
  • Educative
  • About providing a better service to clients and patients
  • Managerial in that it relates to organisational standards and policies, but is not management or appraisal
  • Supportive but not counseling
  • Focused on the practitioner’s agenda
  • Focused on the practitioner’s learning


Supervision is not:
  • A chat session
  • Gossip
  • Friendship
  • Counseling
  • Management
  • For the supervisor to talk about his/her issues
  • Appraisal
  • Judgmental


Many organizations will have their own processes regarding clinical supervision, such as through their employee assistance program. Alternatively you can locate a supervisor yourself through discussing this with colleagues/managers, or an online search.


Davys, A. (2007). Active participation in supervision: a supervisee’s guide. In D. Wepa (Eds.) Clinical Supervision in Aotearoa/New Zealand - A health perspective.

Auckland: Pearson Education New Zealand.