Restorative resilience clinical supervision: A retention strategy for graduate nurses?

Restorative resilience

The education of nursing and midwifery students in Australia, as in the rest of the world, has been devastated by the global pandemic.1

Indeed, nurses and midwives had been in “dire straits” due to conditions in healthcare which have affected their energy, morale, and physical and mental health, even before the onset of COVID-19.2 In this paper, mental health nurse educators describe how they supported first-year graduate nurses amidst the pandemic during a clinical academic partnership program in regional Queensland.

The Australian College of Mental Health Nurses recommends clinical supervision as essential to mental health nurses’ professional growth and sustenance.3  

In Queensland Health, all first-year graduate nurses in mental health have access to clinical supervision. Nevertheless, regional Queensland mental health nurse educators identified that graduate nurses needed enhanced clinical supervision during COVID-19 and beyond.

The educators believed clinical supervision needed to encompass compassion satisfaction and resilience to workplace stressors. They reviewed contemporary literature and discovered the Restorative Resilience Model of Supervision, created to support midwives in the National Health Service in the United Kingdom (UK).4  This supervision model assists health professionals in processing their traumatic workplace experiences, building resilience levels, and developing healthy coping strategies.5 It has been effective with healthcare professionals providing complex patient care. Recent research in 2022 has demonstrated that resilience-based supervision improved nurses’ ability to function during COVID-19.6

Mental health nurse educators from Rockhampton and Wide Bay developed an Australian version of the UK Restorative Resilience training manual. They used the Australian version of the UK manual to upskill themselves and their colleagues. Restorative Resilience Supervision was added to their curriculum, with individual and group clinical supervision for graduate nurses during the clinical academic partnership program.

The Rockhampton nurse educators reported that all graduate nurses in the 2022-2023 cohort completed their Graduate Certificate in Mental Health Nursing at CQUniversity. However, the most important outcome is that the nurses have remained employed in mental health nursing.

The authors recommend further research and suggest nurse educators consider the benefits of Restorative Resilience Clinical Supervision. In the interim, mental health nurse educators in regional Queensland offer one-day Restorative Resilience Clinical Supervision workshops for colleagues who wish to enhance their clinical supervision skills in compassion satisfaction and resilience.

1 Usher K, Wynaden D, Bhullar N, Durkin J, Jackson D. The mental health impact of COVID‐19 on pre‐registration nursing students in Australia. International Journal of Mental Health Nursing [Internet]. 2020 Sep 24;29(6):1015–7.  
2 Buchan J, Catton H. Recover to rebuild: investing in the nursing workforce for health system effectiveness. International Council of Nurses. 2023.  
3 Australian College of Mental Health Nurses. Standards of practice for Australian mental health nurses 2010. Canberra: ACMHN; 2010.  
4 Wallbank S. Restorative Resilience Through Supervision. England: Pavilion; 2015. 
5 Wallbank S. Maintaining professional resilience through group restorative supervision. Community Practitioner. 2013 Aug 1;86(8):26-8.   
6 Griffiths K. Using restorative supervision to help nurses during the Covid-19 pandemic. Nursing Times. 2022:2.

Debra Klages RN, Nurse Researcher, St Vincent’s Hospital, Melbourne, Victoria.
Susan Webster RN, Professional Development Officer Wide Bay Mental Health and Specialised Services (WBMHSS) Queensland
Matthew Johnson RN Clinical Educator, Central Queensland Mental Health Alcohol and Other Drugs Service.

One Response

  1. An important innovative intervention delivered by three inspiring mental health nurses. This is a significant contribution to the development of, and the sustaining of a skilled mental health nursing workforce in Central Queensland and Wide Bay.

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