Evaluating social work supervision

Allyson Mary Davys, Janet May, Beverly Burns, Michael O’Connell

Abstract


INTRODUCTION: The question of whether the practice of professional supervision is effective, and how its effectiveness can be measured, has been debated by both social work and other professions. This study explored how practitioners, supervisors and managers in Aotearoa New Zealand currently evaluate the supervision they receive, provide and/or resource.  The study was interprofessional involving counsellors, mental health nurses, psychologists and social workers. This article focuses on the findings from the social work cohort.

METHODS: Through an on-line Qualtrics survey participants were asked: 1) how they currently evaluated professional/clinical supervision; and 2) how they thought professional/clinical supervision could be evaluated. Data were extracted through the Qualtrics reporting functions and thematic analysis was used to identify themes. A total of 329 participants completed the survey of which 145 (44%) were social workers. 

FINDINGS: A majority of the social work participants reported that they evaluated supervision in some form. No culture or policy emerged regarding supervision evaluation, but social workers expressed interest in training and resources to assist evaluation and some saw a supportive and endorsement role for the professional or regulatory bodies. An unexpected finding was reports of unsatisfactory and harmful supervision.

CONCLUSION: Evaluation of supervision is an activity with which social workers engage, but further research is needed to explore how evaluation can be embedded in supervision practice. More critically, a broader audit is required to reconsider the definition and model of social work supervision in Aotearoa New Zealand and the environments within which supervision occurs.


Keywords


supervision, evaluation, social work, safety, ideal practice, Aotearoa New Zealand.

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References


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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.11157/anzswj-vol29iss3id314

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