AIM(S) OF THE STUDY: This study is part of a larger research project (1995-1998) aiming at quality improvement by means of clinical supervision (CS). The purpose of the study is to ascertain the conceptions of five ward teams having CS of its effects on the quality of care.
The quality of nursing care has been debated since at least the 1980s. An extensive literature and research reports describe a variety of interventions and methods to improve the quality of care. One of the interventions is CS. However, the amount of empirical research exploring the effects of CS especially on the quality of care is limited.
Data were collected using group interviews and analysed using the method of phenomenography.
The following categories describing the conceptions related to CS and to the quality of care emerged: knowledge, change and 'I and we as providers of quality'. Conceptions of the effects varied between and within the teams and sometimes contradicted each other. The importance of knowledge was underlined on three of the five wards. The patient's point of view emerged only on one ward.
It can be concluded that CS has effects on the quality of care and it can be considered a quality improving intervention in nursing practice. However, the knowledge of the different conceptions produced in this study also gives proof that team supervision is a challenge for supervisors.