Emeritus Professor Tony Butterworth CBE

Between 1964 and 1970 Tony qualified as a mental health and general nurse. Following an extensive clinical career, he was appointed to the then Manchester Polytechnic and shared in the pioneering development of a post-registration course for CPNs and a part-time undergraduate degree for clinical nurses.

In 1987 Tony was appointed as the Inaugural QNI Chair of Community Nursing at the University of Manchester. In 1994 he was invited by the Secretary of State for health to Chair a review of mental health nursing in the UK resulting in a DOH report ‘Partnerships in Care’. In 1997 he was elected to be the General Secretary of the Global group of WHO Collaborating Centers for nursing and in 1998 became the founding Chair of the UK Council of Deans for Health. Following periods as a Head of Department he became Dean of School and served as Pro-Vice Chancellor for external affairs at the University.

Tony returned to the NHS in 2001 as the CEO of the Trent WDC. He led a UKCRC review of clinical academic careers for nursing and the health professions leading to an influential report in 2007 – ‘Developing the best research professionals. He became Non-Executive Director NHSI and its Chair in 2011. In 2015 he was named in the HSJ top Clinical Leaders list and cited as ‘one of those people who other people of influence go to for advice’. He is presently a Trustee of the Burdett Trust and the Trafford Counselling and Family Centre.

What does clinical supervision for nurses mean to you?

I cannot see how a person-centred profession such as nursing can effectively exist without clinical supervision. I have been researching and teaching clinical supervision for more than 30 years. With colleagues we published a first text–book in 1992 and have contributed to the development of clinical supervision for nurses through research and teaching. The necessary elements that are explored through education, reflection and organisational responsibilities are central to safe and accountable practice. For some, clinical supervision is a little threatening and intrusive but other than the demands of practice ‘privacies’ there should really be no secrets to the practice of nurses.  The demanding nature of practice requires that nurses can share the burdens they experience and learn continuously from new experiences.  This clinical focus should not be seen as managerial oversight, rather as an opportunity to enhance and develop safe and expert practice between expert clinicians. As we said in an introduction to our book in 1998 – “The ultimate goal is surely when clinical supervision becomes unremarkable and part of everyday practice”.

Tony Butterworth CBE
Emeritus Professor Tony Butterworth CBE
Other Clinical Supervision Subject Expert Group Team Members