The nature and structure of supervision in health visiting with victims of child sexual abuse.

Journal of advanced nursing

PubMedID: 10210475

Scott L. The nature and structure of supervision in health visiting with victims of child sexual abuse. J Adv Nurs. 1999;29(3):754-63.
Part of a higher research degree to explore professional practice.

To explore how health visitors work with victims of child sexual abuse and the supervision systems to support them.

To seek the views and experiences of practising health visitors relating to complex care in order to consider the nature and structure of supervision.

The research reported in this paper used a qualitative method of research and semi-structured interviews with practising health visitors of varying levels of experience in venues around England. Qualitative research enabled the exploration of experiences.

Identification of the need for regular, structured, accountable opportunities in a 'private setting' to discuss whole caseload work and current practice issues.

Supervision requires a structured, formalized process, in both regularity and content, as a means to explore and acknowledge work with increasingly complex care, to enable full discussion of whole caseloads. Supervision is demonstrated as a vehicle to enable the sharing of good practices and for weak practices to be identified and managed appropriately. Supervision seeks to fulfil the above whilst promoting a stimulating, learning experience, accommodating the notion that individuals learn at their own pace and bring a wealth of human experience to the service.

The size of the study was dictated by the amount of time available within which to complete a research master's degree course primarily in the author's own time, over a 2-year period. The majority of participants volunteered their accounts in their own time. For others I obtained permission from their employers for them to participate once they approached me with an interest in being interviewed.

This research provides a model of supervision based on practitioner views and experiences. The article highlights the value of research and evidence-based information to enhance practice accountability and the quality of care. Proactive risk management can safeguard the health and safety of the public, the practitioner and the organization.