Monday, August 1, 2011

Sink or swim

Do you work in an environment with limited supervision?

Does this effect your work negatively?

Do you feel you need a great deal of supervision or are you comfortable working very independently?

What are some solutions you and/or your co-workers have come up with if getting a new or additional supervisor was not an immediate option?

How can you provide support to new or in some cases younger or inexperienced employees who are feeling frustrated or overwhelmed?

Especially if you do not have a lot of time to offer them help and guidance yourself?



  1. at my hospital, i am one of two social workers - under case management umbrella. what makes it both unique and difficult is that we have no social work supervisor. The other SW is older and more experienced, where this is my first job out of college. there is definitely a lack of supervision, which is fine because i do not necessarily need supervision - the frustrating thing is that it feels as if there is no support. You can see burn out all over the other SW face, and i'm starting to understand, because with the lack of support is a lack of understanding what we do, how emotionally difficult it can be, or just someone to bounce ideas off of.

    the most helpful thing for me has been the support and openness of the other SW. she is truly available whenever i need her (even when she's off work! though i've never had to call her) when you dont have much time, just a quick how to or supportive sticky note is great!

  2. I'm quite lucky to have a supportive supervision environment - as well as my manager (who's a social worker), I have an external supervisor who is a senior social worker in a different team and department whom I see monthly to talk about broader issues away from individual casework issues where we can talk about policy, legislation and theories. She says she enjoys it as much as me.. I hope that's true as i get a great deal from those sessions. It's great having someone to speak to who doesn't know the individuals you are working with and who isn't involved directly in the 'management' structure to give a different view and new ideas.
    We also have group supervision with all the social workers in our team (although we are down to only four now).
    It helps keep me sane. Honestly. If I couldn't talk to people about my work and be able to reflect on it, I think I'd implode!

  3. I'm struggling with a similar issue. I used to get really good supervision twice a week, but then I got my independent license. Now, I'm kind of in supervision withdrawal. One supervisor has too many unlicensed staff to supervise me too (although he's available for consultation). Another left, and after a period of transition, my new boss has settled in and wants to start weekly supervision. The problem is, she doesn't have answers to the questions I ask. I do have mentors in the field who are a huge support! (PS, I just started my own sw blog at, so come visit!)