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The effects of group supervision of nurses: a systematic literature review.

Francke, A.L., Graaff, F.M. de. The effects of group supervision of nurses: a systematic literature review. International Journal of Nursing Studies: 2012, 49(9), 1165-1179
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Objectives: To gain insight into the existing scientific evidence on the effects of group supervision for nurses. Design: A systematic literature study of original research publications. Data sources: searches were performed in February 2010 in PubMed, CINAHL, Cochrane Library, Embase, ERIC, the NIVEL catalogue, and PsycINFO. No limitations were applied regarding date of publication, language or country. Review methods: Original research publications were eligible for review when they described group supervision programmes directed at nurses; used a control group or a pre-test post-test design; and gave information about the effects of group supervision on nurse or patient outcomes. The two review authors independently assessed studies for inclusion. The methodological quality of included studies was also independently assessed by the review authors, using a check list developed by Van Tulder et al. in collaboration with the Dutch Cochrane Centre. Data related to the original publications were extracted by one review author and checked by a second review author. No statistical pooling of outcomes was performed, because there was large heterogeneity of outcomes. Results: A total of 1087 potentially relevant references were found. After screening of the references, eight studies with a control group and nine with a pre-test post-test design were included. Most of the 17 studies included have serious methodological limitations, but four Swedish publications in the field of dementia care had high methodological quality and all point to positive effects on nurses’ attitudes and skills and/or nurse–patient interactions. However, in interpreting these positive results, it must be taken into account that these four high-quality publications concern sub-studies of one ‘sliced’ research project using the same study sample. Moreover, these four publications combined a group supervision intervention with the introduction of individual care planning, which also hampers conclusions about the effectiveness of group supervision alone. Conclusions: Although there are rather a lot of indications that group supervision of nurses is effective, evidence on the effects is still scarce. Further methodologically sound research is needed. (aut. ref.)