Practice supervisor preparation

Reference: PS1-B

Last Updated 23/07/2018

All nurses, midwives and nursing associates should be capable of fulfilling a practice supervisor role, as is set out in the NMC Code.

While a practice supervisor may need to be ‘prepared’ in some way before supervising students, this does not necessarily mean they must undergo a formal preparatory course. Practice supervision forms an important part of many professionals’ roles, including registered professionals who are not nurses and midwives. Supervision is included in the new future nurse, future midwives and nursing associate proficiencies. 

The preparation required will differ depending on the student they are supporting and the programme they are on. Many practice supervisors will be highly trained and experienced in supervising and supporting students, and in some cases a practice supervisor may not need any additional preparation, as long as they understand the outcomes that the student is hoping to achieve.

The practice supervisor should be able to think about their own previous and current experience, scope of practice, education and training and ways that this may help them to carry out their role. They should also be able to think about how they may want and need to develop their skills, and what additional training they may need.

Download an overview of implementation strands for new roles to support SSSA

These are the standards that set out what we expect of practice supervisors’ preparation:

Standards for student supervision and assessment:

Approved education institutions, together with practice learning partners, must ensure that practice supervisors:

5.1 receive ongoing support to prepare, reflect and develop for effective supervision and contribution to, student learning and assessment, and

5.2 have understanding of the proficiencies and programme outcomes they are supporting students to achieve

Standards framework for nursing and midwifery education:

Approved education institutions, together with practice learning partners must ensure that all educators and assessors:

R4.3 receive relevant induction, ongoing support and access to education and training which includes training in equality and diversity

Any support, education or training provided should enable practice supervisors to meet sections two to five of our Standards for student supervision and assessment and to perform within the scope of their role. It should enable them to know what the student outcomes are and how they can supervise students in practice.

Support, education or training should be tailored depending on the practice supervisor’s previous experience and current learning needs, and the learning needs and programme outcomes of their students. Previous experience can include any formal training courses, including those completed by registered professionals who are not nurses, midwives or nursing associates, and ‘on the job’ training.

The level and depth of understanding of proficiencies may differ depending on the student, their learning need, the stage of learning, the placement, and the role that the practice supervisor is playing in the education of students.

The AEI, with its practice learning partners, is responsible for making sure the right support, education or training is provided. They should be able to give evidence that the preparation upholds public protection and enables practice supervisors to support students to meet their programme outcomes and our standards. More information on their responsibilities can be found within the new Quality assurance framework.

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