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3. Appropriate Supervision

3.1 Being on clinical placement can at times be stressful. Therefore when educators need to point out a fault this should always be carried out in a constructive manner.

3.2 There is excellent guidance on the NHS Employers' website for NHS managers and staff on what is considered constructive and destructive criticism and the differences between firm but fair management and bullying and harassment. This is also entirely relevant to clinical placement supervisory relationships.

The guidance describes constructive criticism as focusing on:

  • actions and behaviour, regarding what the employee has done or not done
  • facts, with specific examples of behaviour that has been inappropriate and an explanation of why it was inappropriate
  • future improvement, for example, what you could do differently or what changes you could make

If you are encountering behaviour from a supervisor that is:

  • aggressive, for example they are raising their voice at you
  • making personal or demeaning comments about or to you
  • providing negative feedback only with no suggestions on how to improve or to rectify the situation/problem

then such behaviour is considered as destructive and is widely understood that it could lead to those at the receiving end feeling bullied and harassed. To download this guidance visit:

3.3 To download this guidance visit

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