Esther Vallance - Professional Supervision & Nursing Education

Mission statement:
Excellence in praxis

Esther Vallance

RN BN MA (Hons) Cert Adult Tchg

Esther Vallance


Professional Supervision or Clinical Supervision as it has been named historically promotes the concept of a formal, protected time and ‘space’ for nurses to safely reflect on their practice with an experienced clinician/supervisor. Practice issues and their contexts can be brought to ‘supervision’ for open discussion and exploration. The expected result is personal and professional growth that positively impacts on practice.

Personally, I see supervision as one of the most powerful processes a nurse can engage in. Taking time out to discuss one’s practice, be open about one’s fears, and to honestly look at both one’s weaknesses and strengths, can be one of the fastest ways to grow personally and professionally. I think it takes ‘guts’ to look at your practice through this lens. I don’t see supervision as a bit of a chat between professionals, or just reflection on what has happened. I see it to be an explorative, creative process where the supervisor and supervisee notice trends, grooves and patterns of behaviour, and together co-create new ways of responding to clinical setting challenges. I see supervision as an exciting and liberating way to learn and develop, rather than just learning ad hoc from experiences. It’s guided, it’s deep, it’s challenging, it’s affirming, it’s stretching forward into who we can become.
Hence within the supervision process, I provide:

  • An emotionally safe environment
  • Confidentiality
  • Celebration of ‘good’ practice
  • Guided reflection on practice
  • Discussion surrounding ethical dilemmas
  • Debriefing mechanisms to off-load stress
  • Exploration of useful strategies to improve practice
  • Problem solving strategies
  • Decision-making processes
  • Conflict management/resolution techniques
  • Promotion of self-care
  • Career development
  • Coaching to ‘stretch’ towards full potential

To this end, the modes that I currently adopt to guide the supervision relationship and process are twofold: Firstly Kolb’s Learning Cycle, where reflection on experience and theory informing experience, and vice versa takes place. This is about the learning process. I am keen to pick up on, or identify how a person learns. What makes the supervisee ‘tick’? How can I word things so that learning takes place? How can I facilitate reflection so that the supervisee deeply learns new ways of being, or for that matter strengthens already established positive ways of being and behaving? Furthermore, what actions can be introduced into the practice area that will make a difference to the expected outcome? What tools can be used in the practice setting to make the job more streamlined, more manageable, and more professional? What research can inform practice?

Furthermore, I utilise a coaching model. This is about stretching forward into one’s full potential as a person and a practitioner. The coaching model is about the future. It’s about ‘who will I become’, and how will I get there? The coaching model also encapsulates career development and identifying areas or behaviours in the person’s life presently, which may trip them up in the future. Through the coaching model we celebrate good practice, utilise our strengths, and tap into the ‘passion’ that urges us on into new or deepened career pathways. The end result.... 'excellence in praxis'!

Esther Vallance | Email: | Phone: 027 223 1310
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