Empirical studies of clinical supervision in psychiatric nursing: A systematic literature review and methodological critique: Feature Article

Niels Buus, Henrik Gonge

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

57 Citations (Scopus)


The objective of this paper was to systematically review and critically evaluate all English language research papers reporting empirical studies of clinical supervision in psychiatric nursing. The first part of the search strategy was a combination of brief and building block strategies in the PubMed, CINAHL, and PsycINFO databases. The second part was a citation pearl growing strategy with reviews of 179 reference lists. In total, the search strategy demonstrated a low level of precision and a high level of recall. Thirty four articles met the criteria of the review and were systematically evaluated using three checklists. The findings were summarized by using a new checklist with nine overall questions regarding the studies' design, methods, findings, and limitations. The studies were categorized as: (i) effect studies; (ii) survey studies; (iii) interview studies; and (iv) case studies. In general, the studies were relatively small scale; they used relatively new and basic methods for data collection and analysis, and rarely included sufficient strategies for identifying confounding factors or how the researchers' preconceptions influenced the analyses. Empirical research of clinical supervision in psychiatric nursing was characterized by a basic lack of agreement about which models and instruments to use. Challenges and recommendations for future research are discussed. Clinical supervision in psychiatric nursing was commonly perceived as a good thing, but there was limited empirical evidence supporting this claim.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)250-264
Number of pages15
JournalInternational Journal of Mental Health Nursing
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2009
Externally publishedYes


  • Clinical supervision
  • Mental health
  • Psychiatric nursing
  • Systematic review

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