For nurses and midwives supervision has a number of meanings or definitions, three of which may well be relevant to nursing and midwifery practice during the COVID-19 emergency arrangements:

Click on the links below to find out more information:


For additional information specific to particular care settings e.g. Private Nursing Homes, please see below.


    Supervision which occurs for nursing and midwifery students under the newly implemented:


    Nursing: Students in the final six months of pre-registration undergraduate and postgraduate nursing will be completing their programmes in clinical practice where they remain students and therefore require access to supervision and support.

    Hours in practice, during this period, will be counted toward the hours of their programme to meet the requirement for entry unto the NMC register, when the emergency situation ceases. Universities will provide pastoral support to students.

    There are also arrangements being made for students in second year and in the first six months of their third year of pre-registration programmes.

    Midwifery: The above arrangements will apply to all NMC undergraduate pre-registration Midwifery programmes from June 2020.

    For further information about the COVID-19 arrangements in Northern Ireland for nursing and midwifery students please go to:


    Supervision which occurs for registered nurses and midwives to support them to reflect on practice, including those situations which may be difficult or challenging.

    In times where the emotional pressures of relating to distressed patients, families and colleagues is raised, and staff are managing increased service demand , the emotional labour of work for nurses and midwives increases dramatically.

    Evidence demonstrates that the provision of peer support through reflective supervision provides a mechanism for stress relief for registrants as well as promoting professional accountability, knowledge and skills development. Building the resilience of the professions can be a protective process for the negative effects of emotional labour – a key aspect of which is to explicitly acknowledge the emotional labour of work, through group discussions where possible, supporting each other’s wellbeing.

    Reflective supervision is a process that can support all of these opportunities to protect health, wellbeing and practice. At this time it is particularly important that, should a nurse or a midwife need the support of a colleague through this mechanism, this support should be available to them.

    Reflective supervision:

    Supported reflection that enables individual nurses and midwives to develop personally and professionally, is a type of supervision similar to that used for revalidation, which may be helpful as a participative process to improve the quality, safety and person-centeredness of practice.

    In the context of COVID-19, conversations with their supervisors should help nurses and midwives understand how much they are valued, where their current strengths lie and therefore how they might best contribute to the pandemic arrangements and action any identified learning needs. There may also be situations that arise in the current course of daily work that cause distress to individual registrants, where it may be helpful to talk to another suitably skilled colleague about the issue or challenge.

    Reflective supervision sessions are confidential to the participants unless a concern is raised that requires appropriate escalation.


    Supervision which occurs for wider team members to support the development of competence and confidence in using newly acquired knowledge and skills. It is recognised that during periods of high levels of demand for services, supervision of others undertaking interventions that they are in the process of developing knowledge, skills and experience with will be challenging for nurses and midwives. 

    Individual organisations should consider how this activity might be managed in advance of any likely surge, during and post surge.

    This may include the use of remote support from those who are experts but unable to work in the specific clinical area at this time.

  • Additional Information

    Only a small number of PNHs have student nurses assigned to them.