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Nurse Educ Pract. 2013 May;13(3):165-169. doi: 10.1016/j.nepr.2012.08.009. Epub 2012 Sep 12.

Implementing clinical supervision for Australian rural nurses.

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La Trobe Rural Health School, La Trobe University Bendigo, PO Box 199, Victoria 3550, Australia. Electronic address:
Mt Alexander Hospital, PO Box 50, Castlemaine, Victoria, Australia. Electronic address:


In a practice environment characterised by diversity and unpredictability, the role of rural nurses is described as challenging. Developing strategies to support rural nurses is important, for recruitment and retention, and to ensure that nurses provide quality services for rural communities. Most researchers recommend ongoing education as almost a panacea to the challenges that rural nurses face. In this Australian study, there was interest in exploring the potential for clinical supervision as a mechanism for supporting rural nurses. Clinical supervision has been identified as a useful means of reflecting on practice, building resilience, reducing stress and avoiding burnout. A six month clinical supervision programme was developed and implemented with twenty two rural nurses. Using an interpretive descriptive design, a group discussion on participant views of the programme was conducted. Using a thematic network approach, three themes; becoming reflective, understanding and commitment, and losing the client were developed. While in no way devaluing the usefulness of clinical supervision, the findings from this study provide guidance for others introducing similar programmes and indicate that clinical supervision must be focused, well planned and supported.

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