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How do the eight essentials of the ANCC Magnet Recognition Program(R) relate to shared governance?

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"Eight essentials of Magnetism" are evident in every culture of shared governance. They indicate what keeps nurses working in professional practice environments (McClure & Hinshaw, 2002):


  1. Working with clinically competent nurses: Direct-care nurses participate in identifying their own competencies each year based on what's new, changed, problematic, and high-risk/time-sensitive in the practice environment and verifying how they meet those competencies and collaborating with nurse leaders to identify and verify what organizational competencies also need to be addressed
  2. Good nurse-physician relationships: Collaborative interprofessional partnerships
  3. Support for education: Advanced credentialing through facilitation and flexibility of work schedules and resources provided; for example, bringing academic education onto the facility campus out of respect for the nurses' work-life balance needs
  4. Adequate nursing staffing: Participation in staffing schedules: engagement, involvement, and shared decision-making by staff who are thinking beyond the unit level to the organization as a whole
  5. Concern for the patient is paramount: Doing what is needed for the staff first (e.g., providing resources and ongoing training to maintain and/or enhance competency) so they can focus all their energy, expertise, and experience on meeting the needs of the patients, the essence of staff-centered, patient-focused, relationship-based care
  6. Nurse autonomy and accountability: Improving communication and delegation by bringing together partnership, equity, responsibility, authority, ownership, and accountability in shared decision-making and shared leadership in professional practice environments
  7. Supportive nurse manager/supervisor: The nurse manager or supervisor is the key retention person at the point of care; this role is critical to effective outcomes related to shared decision-making and implementation of the shared governance process model at unit and organizational levels
  8. Control over nursing practice and environment: In which shared decision-making leads to better patient outcomes and partnerships between patients and healthcare providers

Shared governance pulls everything together and reshapes nursing practice to provide an environment of professional excellence that flows well through the Components and Forces of Magnetism. Through ongoing nursing research and evidences of best practices, nurses excel in shared decision-making at the point of service. They enjoy collegial management and staff partnerships, collaborative practice among all members of the interprofessional and interdisciplinary teams, and accountability-based ownership in issues related to practice, quality, and competence.

Diana Swihart, PhD, DMin, MSN, CS, RN-BC