Postgraduate Certificate in Clinical Supervision for Inpatient and Complex Care Settings by distance learning.

* This course is currently on hold *


The Postgraduate Certificate in Clinical Supervision has been developed specifically to suit mental and physical health nurses and other multi-disciplinary professionals working within an inpatient/ complex care setting. It is a qualification intended for people who have practised in their profession for a number of years and who are currently supervising junior staff or colleagues from other professions. In order to complete the course, course participants will need to be currently active supervisors.

The purposes of the Certificate are restorative, normative and formative. In other words, it helps to provide support for people carrying out difficult work (restorative), it ensures that workers are staying within ethical and professional boundaries (normative) and it helps in the development of knowledge and skills in the work (formative).

Why is the development of clinical supervision skills important in mental and physical health work?

  • Wards and complex care settings are difficult and challenging places to work. Clients often show high levels of distress and challenging behaviour within these environments. Evidence shows that how we manage these emotional interactions impacts on our ability to provide patients with an effective service at times of crisis. These interactions also impact on our own well-being.
  • Relationships between staff are incredibly important and therefore how we supervise and care for each other matters.
  • Good supervision can help us to endure under such difficult work circumstances.
  • Improved staff self care helps reduce staff turnover, improves morale, and equips us to better manage threats to our own emotional well-being.
  • It is a way of caring for colleagues, including junior staff.
  • It can provide a space where we are better able to think about and manage issues of risk and threat.
  • It helps our professional development and therefore the quality of care we are able to give to service users.

These values have enabled the development of the distance-learning course. It is intended that it will allow you to study in your own time and without a regular commitment to extensive travelling to an educational institution.

In the light of the Francis Report (2010;2013) and the CQC (2013) the importance of self reflective, self aware, well-informed supervision is increasingly regarded as central to the delivery of high quality care.
This course is designed for practitioners with a focus on day-to-day practice that will be related to theoretical models and frameworks of supervision. Participants will develop their existing skills in supervision and leadership within a supportive online and face-to-face community of peers.

Duration of course and entry qualifications

The course extends over 1 calendar year. Our first intake was in May 2013. Our fifth will begin in May 2017. Candidates eligible to apply for the course should normally be first level mental health or physical health registered nurses or equivalent allied mental health professionals. It is normally expected that they will have at least 3 years post-registration experience. In our experience we have found that staff working at Band 6 and above normally make best of the course materials. The course organisers would be happy to talk further with applicants should they have any questions. Candidates must also be currently active supervisors.

In order to be awarded a Post-graduate Certificate candidates must successfully complete two modules. Each module carries a post-graduate credit rating. The award requires the successful completion of 2 modules, each of which carries 30 credits. The Programme will be running from May 2017 if sufficient participants register.

Learning hours and teaching methods

A postgraduate certificate is 60 credits. Credits are consistent units used across universities and in some cases can be used towards a Masters level qualification for candidates who wish to take their studies further.

10 credits is roughly equivalent to 100 hours of study, which sounds like a lot, but this includes teaching time, reading, trying out things at work and completing the assignments. Module 1 is 30 credits (300 hours) and Module 2 is a further 30 credits.

The next intake (Module 1) will begin in May 2017, (10th, 11th & 12th May). Module 2 will begin in November 2017 (15th, 16th & 17th November). Each course participant will be expected to attend for a 3 day teaching block at the beginning of each module. The function of the two teaching blocks is to introduce the course participant to the module materials, to meet your tutor and other course participants, to be introduced to the distance learning material and to create a learning culture. Attendance during the teaching block is mandatory. However, the course has been specifically designed so that all course materials will be available online and that learning from your own base is supported through either telephone or online tutorials.

What will each module look like?

There will be 2 modules: Advancing Supervision Skills I and II. The course content for the first module, which will begin in May 2017, will cover:

  • Definitions and purposes of supervision
  • Creating and maintaining a climate of trust
  • Supporting staff who are working in in-patient settings with patients who have severe and enduring mental and physical health difficulties
  • Responsibilities of stakeholders in the supervision process
  • The evaluation role: supervisee and self-assessment
  • Learning logs and reflective practice
  • Contracting and consent of clients and supervisees
  • Models of supervision

The coursework assignment for Module 1 is the submission of a recording of a supervision session together with a written evaluation (4,500 - 6,000 words) of the session against a selected theoretical framework.

The course content for the second module, which will begin in November 2017, will cover:

  • Methods of facilitating the learning of supervisees
  • Attending to the emotional needs of supervisees
  • Creating and maintaining a flexible and safe supervisory space in the context of a 24-hour ward-based/complex care environment
  • Awareness of ethical issues in supervision and working within an ethical frame-work
  • Keeping in mind issues of difference and diversity in supervision

The course assignment required for Module 2 is the submission of a 4,500 - 6,000 word case study detailing how a candidate has attended to a supervisee’s learning, emotions at work and addressed issues of ethics /difference and diversity.

Teaching methods for each module
3 days lectures (per module) and small group work Day release 24
Seminars Online 12
Tutorials Telephone/online/in person 1.5 per month (18 per year)
Independent Study 26
Other teaching Reflective journal
Guided readings
Supervised clinical activity 40
Coursework assignment 6000 word assignment 60
TOTAL 300 hours per module

Please note, it is normally the case that study time and/or agreement to attend the course will need to be negotiated directly with your employer. A meeting with a member of the course team may be organised to ensure that you are clear about course requirements and to answer any questions prior to the start of the course.

Fees and course costs

Since the inception of the course Health Education Yorkshire and the Humber and Health Education East Midlands have provided funded places under their Learning Beyond Registration (LBR) schemes. There has been a significant overall reduction in the funding available and staff interested in the PG Cert will have to gain authorisation from their manager and their Learning and Development co-ordinator access this funding and you will need to ensure that the funding available covers both modules

Alternatively, you can apply for a self-funded place on the course and the University does provide a facility for paying in instalments. The self-funding fee for 2017-18 is £3, 050. It may be that staff may be able to negotiate a proportion of the fee from their employing Trust. Fees for international students will differ, and have yet to be confirmed. Please contact the course administrator, Sharon Keighley, for more information. 

Course participants may also need to add on the cost of staying in Sheffield over the duration of the 2 teaching blocks if you live some distance away.

We are very excited about the prospect of working with experienced mental and physical health nurses and multidisciplinary practitioners on this course. Effective, well-informed and self-aware supervision skills are an important prerequisite in the delivery of high quality clinical care.

To discuss any aspect of the course please contact Sue Walsh, Joint Director of Clinical Practice, University of Sheffield 0114 2226567 or email