The area of clinical supervision is evolving as one of significant professional interest within the Irish health and social care setting. Education and government policy demands that all professions who rely in their day to day practice on a range of theoretical perspectives to maintain a framework to accommodate the acquisition of higher order skills to underpin their practice as well as having educational progression routes to support their professional development and provide opportunities to enhance their own professional knowledge base.
Working in complex health and social care environments in a professional capacity requires people of the highest integrity and capacity, and leaders in fields of health and social care practice must provide positive leadership and management as well as acting as role models for their clients, guardians, carers and professional colleagues across a wide array of disciplines, operating within an environment with competing interests, professional demands and focus. An important aspect of practice in professional areas involving therapeutic engagement involves students identifying the role of self-awareness within the process of supervision especially in relation to the dynamics of the supervisory relationship. Thus, the need for a strong emphasis on reflective learning is an inherent element of this programme.
The professionalisation agenda demands, in practice orientated disciplines, that there are adequate supports available to support work based learning within programmes and the professional staff who engage in practice in these areas. That is one of the key drivers for the introduction of formal clinical supervision structures in Irish mental health services.
This programme will facilitate learners to evolve to a level of expert practice in the context of inter, intra, and trans-disciplinary clinical supervision models and driven by principles of holism. The programme is based on a philosophy that emphasises the perspective that the techniques and approaches to clinical supervision in Professional Practice should be always considered within a methodical approach that involves the coherent integration of theory and practice into a fuller evolving model of engagement and professional support. In that context, this clearly suggests that practitioners of clinical supervision should have appropriate knowledge of the important influences and models of clinical supervision as well as opportunities to develop competence within differing paradigms and approaches.
It is assumed that development in professional competence and expertise is an evolving process throughout students’ theory and practice integration and synthesis – which is influenced by factors such as competence, experience, context, and personal choice.
The programme is also based on the following premises and beliefs:
- The relationship within the clinical supervisory engagement is of fundamental importance as a medium for change.
- The belief that clinical supervision can be discipline-specific or interdisciplinary in nature.
- Open and supportive professional dialogue and exploration is essential in clinical supervision.
- The fact that respect for difference and an ability to work with diversity are inherent aspects of positive clinical supervision.
- A belief in the transpersonal dimension to an individual’s life and professional practice as well as the individual’s sovereignty and autonomous responsibility for self and professional judgments and actions.
- A belief in the significance of social relationships in setting the framework in which individuals operate in professional practice.
- An appreciation of the importance of socio-political awareness and an understanding of the practitioner’s experience, personal beliefs, and values in professional practice settings.
The programme is aimed at learners who wish to develop their professional competence in clinical supervision of professional practitioners, most, if not all of who will be members of graduate professions and through the professional placements within the programme as well as the emphasis on evidence-based practice, will develop personal capacity and collaborative problem solving, underpinned by reflective practice.