Clinical Skills Development Service

Insights into Clinical Supervision: an Interview with Cathy Boyle

Ben Ballard – Director of Nursing STARS and Cathy Boyle – Nurse Educator Clinical Supervision Project

Cathy Boyle is a seasoned Nurse Educator and Clinical Supervisor with extensive experience spanning over three decades. Trained in the UK, Cathy received Clinical Supervision as a regular part of her practice.

For 36 years, she has been a dedicated professional within Metro North Health, initially serving at the Royal Brisbane and Women’s Hospital before transitioning to The Prince Charles Hospital in 1992.

We recently had the pleasure of interviewing Cathy to learn more about her work and insights into Clinical Supervision. Here are some highlights from our conversation.

Can you tell us about the Clinical Supervision booth you recently set up? What was the main goal of having this booth?

The booth was in Surgical, Treatment and Rehabilitation Service (STARS) and the main goal was to engage with nurses and midwives to clarify what Clinical Supervision is, and is not, to discuss the benefits nurses and midwives can experience from Clinical Supervision, and to develop a level of interest and curiosity to participate.

From left to right: Ben Ballard – Director of Nursing STARS, Raymond Taite – NUM Mental Health Adolescent | Clinical Supervisor, Michaela Fellingham – Assistant Nursing Director | Clinical Supervisor, Cathy Boyle – Nurse Educator Clinical Supervision Project, Peter Thomas – A/Director CSDS and Joanne Mewis – Strategic Program Director CSDS

What kind of feedback did you receive from attendees?

Nurses and midwives are keen to know more, and many feel that this type of professional development support is very much needed. The term ‘Clinical Supervision’ can cause some confusion. On initial discussion, some staff have interpreted Clinical Supervision as the direct/indirect supervision that is provided by preceptors, facilitators or line managers to students, colleagues, or staff within your team.

However, the Clinical Supervision that we are referring to is a confidential space for nurse/midwives to reflect on their practice, with a trained Clinical Supervisor who is not their line manager, educator, or direct colleague. We have developed a Sway which aims to demystify the term, whilst providing introductory information for nurses and midwives who are about to embark on the journey of clinical supervision. This can be found here.

Can you share a specific example of how Clinical Supervision has helped you in your practice?

Clinical Supervision has supported my nursing practice for over 20 years. It has enabled me to reflect on, process, learn from and let go of issues that otherwise take up too much space in my head!

Where have you promoted Clinical Supervision, and where can we find you next?

I have been taking Clinical Supervision on the road! There have been booths in Royal Brisbane and Women’s Hospital (RBWH), The Prince Charles Hospital (TPCH) and Caboolture Hospital.

The next booths are:

What advice would you like to give to graduate nurses and midwives?

The work that nurses and midwives do is hard. It is challenging and burdensome and I would encourage all nurses and midwives regardless of their role or specialty to consider the benefits of engaging in Clinical Supervision.

The evidence is overwhelming that engaging in Clinical Supervision is predominantly restorative as it supports wellbeing, diminishes compassion fatigue, and allows nurses and midwives to “let go” of the challenges of their practice.   

Accessing Clinical Supervision is simple. Reach out to Cathy Boyle on to express your interest. Whether you prefer individual sessions or group settings, there’s a format that suits your needs.