The Scottish Clinical Supervision Model for midwives

02 October 2019
14 min read
Figure 3. Pocket-sized, laminated cards that outline the Scottish Clinical Supervision Model
Volume 27 · Issue 10


The Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) model of statutory supervision for midwives ceased in 2017 following a change in UK legislation. In response, the Scottish Government and NHS Education for Scotland (NES) worked with NHS Health Boards to develop a new employer-led model of clinical supervision. The aim of this model is to help midwives provide improved services, safer care and improved outcomes for women and infants in keeping with professional regulation. The new Scottish Clinical Supervision Model is also designed to increase midwives' personal wellbeing and help them deal with the everyday challenges of clinical practice. The design is a radical departure from the previous NMC model because it incorporates facilitation and coaching methods which teach midwives to respond, reflect and restore self, and reduce stress and increase resilience. In an attempt to improve nurturing leadership, the key components of this new model are underpinned by a person-centred approach, during which the supervisor provides unconditional positive regard and empathy towards the supervisee. Equipping midwives to develop contemporary supervision is supported by NES through online education.

The recent removal of statutory supervision for midwives has left maternity care managers with responsibility for ensuring that alternative processes of guidance are introduced to improve the quality of maternity care provided by midwives.

Although the statutory elements of supervision have been disbanded in the UK, this does not signify the end of supervision for midwives. NHS Education for Scotland (NES) has co-ordinated the development of a new supportive system of supervision that has now been rolled out over Scotland. The aim of the new Scottish Clinical Supervision Model is to equip midwives to provide improved services, safer care and better outcomes for women and families through encouraging advocacy and accountability in keeping with professional regulation.

Changes to regulation of supervision in midwifery (Nursing and Midwifery Council [NMC], 2017a) provided the opportunity to adopt a refreshed approach that focuses upon supporting midwives to reflect on clinical practice, at the same time as developing resilience. This new model takes a compassionate and person-centred approach, which is a departure from the prior NMC supervision model. As part of the process, this new model incorporates coaching methods designed to help midwives respond, reflect, and restore self.

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