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

10 Jan 2017


The aim of this study was to systematically review evidence relating to clinical supervision for nurses, midwives and allied health professionals.


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.


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.

Data sources

Electronic databases were searched from 2005 - September 2015, limited to English-language peer-reviewed publications.

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 summarized in tables. Data describing the key components of clinical supervision interventions were extracted from studies included in Synthesis 2, categorized using a reporting framework and a narrative account provided.


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.


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.

Click here to view the full article which appeared in Journal of Advanced Nursing