Remote Supervision - Raff
Raff is a hearing aid dispenser working in independent practice. He has just started running his own business as a sole practitioner in a remote location in the Scottish Highlands.
Though Raff is a sole practitioner, it’s still important that he accesses supervision. Raff approaches his professional body to help him identify another professional that would be interested in providing supervision. Raff’s professional body put him in touch with a hearing aid dispenser named Luke, who is also practicing in the independent sector, though based over two hours away. It becomes clear that face-to-face supervision would incur considerable time and travel costs.
How did Raff and Luke approach the supervision?
Due to Raff’s location, Luke and Raff arrange to have an initial meeting by video conference, to identify and discuss Raff’s learning and development needs. From this meeting, it transpires that the primary aim of Raff’s supervision is to obtain professional support, to assist with everyday workplace practice and to receive pastoral care. As no clinical observation is required, Luke is satisfied that remote supervision would be appropriate to meet Raff’s needs.
While Luke has experience in supervising others, this was previously provided in person rather than remotely. Luke therefore approaches his professional body to identify whether there is further training or resources available on providing online supervision. After reviewing additional guidance on the subject, Luke feels confident in his ability to supervise Raff remotely. Luke keeps a record of his training conducted, to use as evidence of his own CPD.
Raff and Luke discuss and complete a supervision agreement, which outlines how they are going to approach the supervision sessions going forward. They agree to meet for one hour at the beginning of each week, via video conference so that they are able to still meet ‘face-to-face’. They also agree an agenda to go through each week, as well as a process for recording and sharing the notes from their sessions.
As part of the supervision agreement, Raff and Luke also agree the terms of confidentiality and the process for reviewing the contact. They both set aside time before each meeting to ensure that they have reliable internet connection, so that their sessions are not disrupted.
Though Raff and Luke’s meeting are conducted remotely, they each book meeting rooms for their sessions, to help ensure that their discussions remain confidential, and that they are not disturbed.
Luke continues to supervise Raff remotely for a few weeks. During one session, Raff advises Luke of a particular challenge he is experiencing, wherein a service user is not responding to treatment in the way he would expect. After listening to Raff’s concerns, Luke explains how he would approach the situation and suggests an alternative intervention for Raff to try, to which he agrees. They both make a record of this conversation and note down this new intervention as a future learning objective for Raff. They agree to discuss this at the beginning of their next meeting.
At their next meeting, Raff informs Luke that the action suggested worked effectively. Raff and Luke discuss the task in detail, and Raff reflects on what he has learnt and achieved since his last supervision session.
How did Luke effectively approach this supervision?
Depending on the nature of the activity, direct or one-to-one supervision will not always be necessary. Circumstances may also make direct supervision difficult to achieve, depending on the location of the participants, or conflicting work schedules. Remote supervision can provide an effective alternative, particularly when the supervision is focused on career or personal development.
By taking the time to understand the nature of Raff’s learning needs and the risks associated, Luke was able to effectively determine the appropriate type of supervision required from the outset. Furthermore, by deciding to conduct the supervision remotely, Luke and Raff were both able to prioritise their time more effectively.
Video conferencing may not always be available, in which case remote supervision can also be conducted over the phone. However, conducting the supervision by video conference meant that Raff and Luke were able to maintain an element of face-to-face contact, which can improve the quality of the supervision and communication. This also helped Raff and Luke to build a more positive working relationship, which had benefits for both Raff and Luke’s wellbeing.
It’s important that supervisors have the appropriate skills, knowledge and training to conduct supervision required. Conducting further training provided Luke with greater confidence in his ability to supervise Raff. It also demonstrated Luke’s motivation and willingness to learn and develop, which he could for his own CPD.
How did supervision benefit Raff and impact his practice?
Though Raff worked independently, he could still receive supervision from others.
Because of the supervision provided, Raff was able to effectively raise his concern and identify an appropriate course of action. He was able to talk through solutions and amend his practice in a timely way. Not only did this improve Raff’s practice, but it also benefited the service user.
Working and communicating with others is an essential component to safe and effective care. As a sole practitioner, regular contact with Luke enabled Raff to work in collaboration with his peers and obtain other professional opinion. It also provided Raff with the opportunity to reflect on and assess his own practice, in a supportive and constructive way.
More supervision case studies