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Annual NTF Symposia

Can restorative supervision positively impact the emotional wellbeing of HEI lecturers in Healthcare?

Nicki Credland. Reader in Critical Care. University of Hull; Jayne Walker, Senior Lecturer, University of Hull; Lisa Jennison, Lecturer, University of Hull 

There are increased levels of poor mental health and burnout among Higher Education Institution (HEI) staff compared to the general population1 due to increased workload, reduced autonomy, isolation and adaptation to a constantly evolving environment2. Maintaining HEI staff wellbeing is crucial to providing a high standard of education for students. Lecturers provide emotional and behavioural student support which takes empathy, time, and heart and this work is challenging, leaving staff feeling emotionally depleted3

Restorative Supervision (RS) enables reflection on the emotional and psychological impact of their roles on work/life balance. It offers a safe environment to consider options, challenge negativity and reflect in a constructive way. It empowers individuals to realise what they can do themselves, to improve their working lives and reduce levels of stress and burnout4. RS assists the development of three core work needs that must be met to ensure wellbeing and motivation at work, autonomy, belonging and contribution5

This project aimed to explore whether RS could be used to support health care professionals working in a higher education setting. The team delivered one session per month for six months of 1:1 RS. Participants came from differing disciplines (Nursing, Paramedics, ODP, Radiography, Dietetics) within a Faculty of Health Sciences. Following the final session, a focus group was undertaken and the data analysed using thematic analysis.   

Four key themes were identified: 

1. Role identity 

“As a health professional, you don’t really fit, so it was nice to join in with colleagues of other clinical professions coming from a clinical background into an academic one and get some support and wisdom” 

2. Compassionate relationships 

“Someone was basically kind of validating you and saying actually you do have value and what you’re doing is good, you’re doing a good job…that was what came to me from the supervision. I think it was that like, yeah, I felt valued as a person” 

3. Me time 

“It was sort of that rare opportunity to stop for someone to actually listen to give us that really valuable time to explore ourselves as people that I found absolutely amazing. It was a breath of fresh air. I think it’s first time I’ve sat down in three years and thought about myself” 

4. Empowerment and impact 

“If you get happy lecturers, you will get happy students. The restorative supervision is a way to help support us so that there is that safe space for us to get a sense of value and importance. That then means we can keep doing our job well, which then impacts on the student experience” 

Participants felt that RS supports staff and helps build reflection, problem-solving, communication and person-centeredness skills. It provides a safe space to consider options, challenge negativity and reflect in a constructive way.  

It was amazing to present this work at the ANTF symposium. The event was inspiring with some incredible work being presented! Lots of food for thought and ideas for further projects. Thank you!  


1. Morrish, L. (2019). Pressure Vessels: The Epidemic of Poor Mental Health Among Higher Education Staff. Higher Education Policy Institute. Available at: [accessed December 14, 2023]. 

2. Dougall, I., Weick, M., and Vasiljevic, M. (2021). Inside UK Universities: Staff Mental Health and Wellbeing During the Coronavirus Pandemic. Europe PMC. Available at: [Accessed:14.12. 2023]. 

3. Demirdag, S., (2016). The relationship between faculty members’ school culture and burnout. E-International Journal of Educational Research, 7(3), 49-62. doi:10.19160/e-ijer.96556 

4. Wallbank, S. (2012) Health visitors’ needs- national perspectives from the Restorative Clinical Supervision Programme. Community Practitioner. Vol: 85, Number 4;29- 32. 

5. West, M., Bailey, S. & Williams, E. (2020) The courage of compassion: Supporting nurses and midwives to deliver high-quality care. Available at:  [Accessed: 05.11.2023]. 

X (formerly Twitter): Follow @credland_nicki and @walker040112 for more information about restorative supervision 

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