Shared governance at St. Joseph’s/Candler provides nurses a voice in decision making

St. Joseph’s/Candler practices shared governance, which is a shared decision-making process based on the principals of partnership, equity, accountability and ownership at the point of service. Shared governance is a way for nurses to make decisions on things they control about their everyday work and experiences. This practice is encouraged as part of the Magnet standards.

In our health system, shared governance is achieved in the form of many councils and committees. These councils allow for nurses to share thoughts and concerns, make decisions and have a voice among leadership.

The Professional Nursing Council provides a venue in which professional nurses may conference and make recommendations to nursing leadership.

Research has shown the benefits to shared governance are:

  • Longevity of employment
  • Increased employee satisfaction
  • Better safety and healthcare
  • Greater patient satisfaction
  • Shorter lengths of stay for patients

St. Joseph’s/Candler shared governance councils

While our shared governance practices are always being improved as needed, here’s a look at some of the current councils.

Strategic Nursing Leadership Council

The purposes of the Strategic Nursing Leadership Council are to provide oversight of and support to the nursing governance councils’ activities. The membership of the council consists of nursing governance council chairs, unit council chairs, nursing directors, vice president - patient care services/chief nursing officer and advanced practice nurses.

Professional Nursing Council

The purpose of the Professional Nursing Council is to provide a venue in which professional nurses may conference and make recommendations to nursing leadership regarding issues impacting the professional practice of nursing and the care of patients, including recruitment and retention of experienced and new graduates and existing staff. The membership of the council consists of at least one registered nurse from each inpatient/outpatient care area and the director of professional practice. Members are appointed by the unit manager. Membership to the Professional Nursing Council typically does not exceed three years.

Nursing Quality Practice Council

The purposes of the Nursing Quality Practice Council are twofold:

  1. To monitor clinical outcomes; and
  2. To oversee the function of nursing quality.

The membership of the council consist of chairs or designated representatives of committees/councils with quality focus, such as pain committee, patient satisfaction, JC teams, event related nursing peer review, falls teams and more; all nurses in advanced practice/clinical support roles; all nursing directors; one nurse manager from each clinical division; and staff nurse representative from each patient care unit.

Nursing Research and Evidence Based Practice Council

The purpose of the Nursing Research and Evidence Based Practice Council is to identify pertinent nursing research questions based on nursing performance improvement data, practice issues of concern in nursing in general and data/requests from interdisciplinary teams within the organization. The membership of the council consist of an advanced practice RN (chair); clinical quality APRN’s and clinical educators; one nurse manager; director of professional practice/nursing specialty services; at least one staff RN from each nursing division on each campus; one RN member of the St. Joseph’s/Candler IRB; RN faculty representative from graduate and undergraduate nursing program of Armstrong.

Patient Care Services VAI Products Committee

The purpose of the Patient Care Services VAI Products Committee is to discuss products, equipment and practices to provide oversight for the process and outcomes of nursing care. The membership of the council consists of all clinical support/educator staff, staff nurse representative from each unit and a chair.

Event Related Nursing Peer Review Council

The purpose of the Event Related Nursing Peer Review Council is twofold:

  1. To provide a venue for the evaluation of individual nurse performance according to standards; and
  2. To provide oversight to assure all aspects of the peer review process are conducted accurately.

Membership to the council consists of a clinical nurse specialist (chair) and staff nurse representatives from: critical care, emergency services, maternal/child, surgical services, rehab, medical surgical nursing, risk management and director of professional practice. Ad hoc members will be identified as needed by the case in review and may include staff nurses from specific specialty areas, clinical nurse specialists and hospitalists. The clinical nurse specialist chairperson, director of professional practice, risk manager and ad hoc members will not have a vote. All other staff nurse members will have one vote. Membership to the Event Related Nursing Peer Review Council is by appointment of the CNO/VP for Patient Care Services for that area and is based on skill and knowledge of the registered nurse and ability to be impartial and not biased.

Unit Governance Council

The purpose of the Unit Governance Council is to provide the venue at the unit level for in-depth discussion of practice issues of concern to all staff. Patient care and nursing practice issues and promotion of unit performance excellence are the priorities for the unit council. The unit council is comprised of all staff nurses or a representative sample and representatives from ancillary unit staff. A representative from each unit council provides monthly reports and forwards comments and questions to an assigned council, such as PNC, Nursing Quality, Nursing Research and Evidence Based Practice and others.