Shared Governance (SG) is a partnership between leadership and staff, with an end goal to promote collaborations, communication, shared decision making, accountability, ownership, and nursing excellence. Empowerment to make decisions is only a part of the purpose of SG. SG seeks to help the staff improve their practice and work environment, improve performance and professional development. This partnership between the leadership of the department and staff assures that decisions made within our committee aligns with the organizational mission, vision, values, and strategic goals. The key word is “empower” staff to achieve their highest clinical professional practice within their job scope.
We have 10 unit-based practice councils (UPC) for each of our service line. The goal is for each of our department to have its own UPC. The UPCs are made up of frontline nurses who were voted on by their peers to represent them and ensure that their voices are heard and listened to. The UPCs are in varying levels of maturity but each one is focused in improving nursing practice, patient care delivery and work environment. A lot of great initiatives and innovations are to be expected from them.
Tim Porter-O’Grady, a pioneer in Shared Governance, defines it as “a structural model through which nurses can express and manage their practice with a higher level of professional autonomy.” Additionally, he considers SG to be an organizational framework that enables sustainable, accountability-based decisions. SG is a partnership among all who provide service or support within a health care system. It includes four overarching principles: partnership, equity, accountability and ownership (Guanci, 2018).