Like most notes, supervision notes aren't a big deal until they ARE a big deal... meaning, when you need them! Until then, they sometimes feel pointless and often feel annoying to do.
But you don't have to know much about me to know my schtick- which is making documentation meaningful, simple, even nearly enjoyable!
I'm currently a supervisor for licensed clinicians and I write regular supervision notes so I can remember what's going. Being disciplined about regular notes is key. It's so easy to get behind and then you're playing with fire... because it always seems like that's the time when something "bad" happens.
But it's about more than just writing your notes each week or month... it's about the organization and content, too. So I thought I'd share with you some tips on how to keep organized with your supervision notes so they stay awesome.
Write on a Schedule
While I find it nearly impossible to write a therapy note right after the session, it's not the same for me with supervision notes. I typically do these right after or at least that same day.
This way I'm never worried. When someone (like HR, yeah, that's happened frequently!) asks me for more info I already have it all laid out for whoever needs it.
This is much easier because my supervision sessions aren't weekly, so I don't feel like I'm constantly writing notes.
Keep it Simple
With supervision notes you can really stick with the bare minimum. I don't really worry about the amount of time we met or where we met. I make sure to include dates and what we discussed. That's it.
As with everything, there's no black and white rule here. For example, if I had to deal with an employment issue or a crisis I will go into more detail. But if we discussed some standard cases, time off and reviewed a training then that's all I need to write. I save my time typing for the big stuff and then I go into detail.
Be Organized with Files
It took me some time to figure out filing because again, no one teaches you this stuff and there's no specific standard. I do all my notes on the computer and each supervisee has a file. In the file I have a Word document (because this is my day job- at home I use my lovely Mac) that is a running file of supervision notes for the year.
Each day or meeting is a bullet point. I list the date and then my notes are in sub-bullets. That keeps things very easy to review at a later time as well as organized.
Did something come up outside of supervision? Did I communicate some important message and want to track when that happened? I list that as a bullet point as well. Easy peasy.
In the file for each supervisee I also keep any pertinent documents. Another thing that's been super useful is to save emails in that folder. For example, perhaps you communicate a new protocol or respond via email to an important situation, save that email in the supervisee's folder.
This tactic alone has saved me soooo much time! I used to waste a lot of time searching through my inbox folders for things. Another strategy is to simply name a folder in your email inbox for each person you supervise and use that to house all correspondence. This works well if your email traffic is lighter.
And voila! You've now got an easy way to keep your supervision notes. They're easy to retrieve should you ever need them and easy to review if you ever want to revisit something.
Leave a comment below with your own tips for writing supervision notes. And if you're still struggling with this whole documentation thing, remember that you can always reach out for individual help from me. Just click here to find out more.