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What is it like for you to know that you have taken or might take on the duty and responsibility of vicarious liability as a clinical supervisor?
This is truly a scary concept. I started out as a crisis supervisor and at least then, I participated in their training, I was with my team daily, I read their documentation, and we had routine case reviews and education. And I was much less experienced myself, so I don’t think I was as aware of the liability as I am now. Now, I supervise 4 individuals working in the jail system who I haven’t trained, and I don’t see them daily. It’s very different. They also have differing levels of credentials/licensure and experience. Although, I have learned that the number of years someone has in the field doesn’t equal less liability.
Describe 3 strategies you have already employed or have thought about employing to manage this sense of responsibility so it doesn’t impact your clinical and supervisory work negatively and/or does impact your work in a positive way?
1. I have had the opportunity to resume peer supervision recently as well as sharing an office building with another licensed individual who is willing to engage in peer supervision on occasion. I feel this is a good strategy to determine what any reasonable prudent person would do in certain situations. Also, its beneficial for my own self-care.
2. The agency I provide supervision for has an individual development plan attached to the annual review. I use this as well as trying to develop an annual training plan that covers a lot of the topics such as boundaries, confidentiality, ethics and more.
3. Honestly, I stopped doing supervision for about a year due to specific concerns. I’m glad to be clinically supervising again. I would do well to attend to thorough documentation. I would like to have a supervision note that has topics on the top and can check off which ones were discussed.
How does your agency support/not support you to manage the legal and ethical responsibility of vicarious liability and how can you advocate for more support if it is lacking?
I don’t think we have ever had a real discussion around this. We do have bi-monthly QI meetings and I complete a monthly supervision report which describes any issues or commendations for each supervisee. It’s a good topic to bring up!