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What is Facilitative Supervision?

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What is Facilitative Supervision?

Experience with COPE has shown that the role of supervisors and managers is critical in the quality improvement process. Facilitative supervision is an approach to supervision that emphasizes mentoring, joint problem solving, and two-way communication between the supervisor and those being supervised. Adoption of a facilitative approach leads to a shift from inspection and fault finding to assessment and collective problem solving to continuously improve the quality of care.

The supervisor facilitates and manages the process of change by breaking the staff's dependence on supervisors to solve all problems, and by empowering and enabling staff to take action at various levels when appropriate. In order to do so, supervisors themselves must break out of the traditional mindset and also have solid technical knowledge and skills to perform tasks. When needed, they must know how and where to gain access to additional support.

Through a series of workshops and activities, supervisors become involved in defining quality. They have an opportunity to improve interpersonal communication skills as well as coaching and group process skills. The workshops teach supervisors:

  • the principles underlying quality improvement
  • how to manage the quality improvement process
  • how to link training to supervision
  • concepts of adult learning
  • how to set measurable objectives and examine opportunities for improvement with site staff
  • how to use records and data to help improve service quality

Medical monitoring skills are also upgraded to ensure that clinical service standards, norms, and policies are being implemented to assure the quality of service delivery.

Background and information on this approach can be found in AVSC Working Paper No. 10, Facilitative Supervision: A Vital Link in Quality Reproductive Health Service Delivery.

Return to the Quality of Care page.


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