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My organization is developing a shared governance model. How can I help identify nursing's role in the model?

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Nursing's role in an organizationwide shared governance model is multifaceted:

  • Shared governance is a universal process structure or model. It can be applied in any setting. As it emerges in one division, it begins to affect other services, departments, and disciplines that want to participate in decisions that affect their future and roles or to be involved to the fullest extent possible. That is to be expected and anticipated.
  • Implement in other departments and disciplines when they are ready. Although nurses lead the process change, shared governance will vary in terms of organizational application. When other departments are ready, nurses must be ready to assist, encourage, and act as role models by sharing the information and experiences gathered in their own implementation process. Allow the shared governance process model to evolve in the divisions, disciplines, and departments that seek it.
  • Structure corporate and organizational integration into the shared governance process. Nursing support gives the organization an opportunity to integrate everyone's growth in shared governance. Healthcare systems can only change strategically if the whole organization joins nursing's efforts and they collectively institute the necessary structures for change together. Shared governance needs to be incorporated so that it becomes an organizational imperative and continues to grow across the organization.

Diana Swihart, PhD, DMin, MSN, CS, APRN, BC

(June 2010)