Primary Care Professional Support: Clinical supervision

Clinical supervision is a term used by regulators and professional bodies to refer to the process of ensuring the safe and effective everyday practice of practitioners, developing their learning through reflection and supporting them in managing challenges, uncertainty and complexity.

Clinical supervision has three main functions:

  1. Normative: Supervisor provides guidance on standard procedures and best practice and standard procedure
  2. Formative: Supervisor and practitioners identify practitioner learning needs, create action plans and reflect on learning after implementation.
  3. Restorative: Supervisor supports practitioner to  explore and manage challenges, complexity and other pressure in their role, where practitioners may feel overwhelmed. Signposting to other services may also be needed.

“Well-being” is a term that has been used recently, relating to supporting staff to manage complexity and change. However it has long been embedded in the roles of the majority of patient-facing health care professionals as part of the restorative aspect of clinical supervision.​

​SPS is in an ideal position to support all three aspects of clinical supervision, perhaps with (Medicines Information) MI focussing on normative and formative and the (Medicines Use and Safety) MUS team focusing on the restorative aspect.

Podcast/ recordings to guide you through the process of restorative clinical supervision

This page contains two short podcasts that describe the need for professional self-care and how  clinical supervision can be used by pharmacy staff to support each other.

Clinical supervision: Psychological wellbeing during the COVID-19 pandemic (8 mins)

Accompanying powerpoint slides:Wellbeing for pharmacy staff – Why, what and where do we start

  • This recording was made toward the start of the COVID-19 outbreak, and illustrates some of the challenges for pharmacists including fears and uncertainties around their work and the personal impact.
  • Using an example of a struggling member of pharmacy staff , this will be helpful listening for all pharmacy professionals, in terms of recognising their own self-care needs and those of staff that they are responsible for and work with. It includes warning signals (‘red flags’).

Clinical supervision: Promoting psychological wellbeing for pharmacy staff during the COVID-19 pandemic. A method for colleague-to-colleague discussion (8 mins)

Accompanying powerpoint slides:Promoting psychological wellbeing for pharmacy staff during COVID-19

  • This recording introduces a method of professional debrief between two pharmacists, known as clinical supervision.
  • The example discusses a critical care case which had a personal impact, but the method will be helpful for anyone during the current pandemic and beyond. Having a discussion between individuals or groups from the same profession can be helpful because of shared understanding of what we do and what we may face.

Wellbeing Resource Document

To compliment the recordings above, we’ve also provided a wellbeing resource document aimed at pharmacy staff to consider their own wellbeing and those of their staff. This supplements the recordings about wellbeing for pharmcy staff.

Additional professional support available

There are some great resources from other professional bodies within our profession on this subject.


Get in touch to provide feedback on this page. The number of resources and recordings will grow over time as part of the Pharmacy Integration Fund project to support Primary Care Network Pharmacists.

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