Clinical supervision activity among mental health nurses : a critical organizational ethnography.
This qualitative study IS underpinned by interpretive-constructionist
methodological governing principles, and took shape around a developing
research focus and aim rather than in relation to pre-existing research questions.
The focus of the research is on clinical supervision activity. This refers to formal
and informal research encounters with participants and significant others in the
organization in which the study was carried out, about: the experience of the
practice of clinical supervision; attempts to translate textual prescription and
description of clinical supervision into organizational reality; finally, the
meaning endowment placed on both of the above by myself, my participants, and
significant others associated with my research. In order to address an important
gap in the literature, the aim of the research developed as the need to unpack and
clarify the meaning, and the affective and organizational theoretical implications
of clinical supervision activity.
Part one of the ethnographic report is constructed around three overlapping
categories: owning, resisting and feeling. These categories are developed
around the proposition that the bureaucratic rationality inscribed within both the
literature on clinical supervision, and in organizational attempts to implement it,
fails to take account of both the emotional underlife of the organization and otherorganizational factors. Specifically, I argue that clinical supervision activity,
and my inscription within it as 'insider' researcher', was influenced, shaped and
constrained by the pre-existing interpersonal rules and norms of the organization
in which my research was conducted. Those governed what could and could not
be done or said in or about clinical supervision activity, arguably undermining
organizational goals to implement it.
Part two of the ethnography explores the maIn theoretical and conceptual
implications an sIng from the preceding ethnographic construction, around
structural organizational power and politics. This addresses a significant gap in
the contemporary literature in clinical supervision in nursing and mental health
nursing. I conclude with a critical auto-critique of the study itself, around a
discussion of its strengths and limitations and possible future research directions