Inside scoop from our experts: How long does shared governance take to implement?

HCPro's Weekly Update on the ANCC Magnet Recognition Program®*, November 24, 2009

This week, a reader asks about implementing shared governance. This question generated lots of responses on the JourneyTalk listserv, and the following answer is a portion of one provided by JourneyTalk member Vicki R. Haag, RN, MSN, ANCC Magnet Recognition Program® coordinator at Riverside Medical Center, Kankakee, IL.

Q: How long does it take to implement shared governance? Is it better to pilot test unit leadership councils or implement a comprehensive model across the nursing division at the same time?

A: We developed our Patient Care Council for the first formal shared governance structure in 2007. This council is comprised of four sub-councils: EBP/research, practice, professional development, and quality and safety (Q&S). Almost every nursing unit is represented in the practice and Q&S councils, so there are approximately 15 members on each council. We realize this is somewhat large, according to recommendations from the literature, but has worked well for us because the nurses on the councils are responsible for sharing information with their units. The professional development and EBP/research councils have fewer members.

All councils have facilitators, who are directors. We have chairs and co-chairs, who serve for two to three years. Members report that it takes approximately six months to understand the work of the groups, which is why we have longer terms. We provide all members with a meal ticket and usually take the month of July off. Each January, we start with a review of the prior year and provide education on council structures, voting, decision-making, etc.

Each of the sub-councils have charters, which are reviewed and revised each year, along with their ground rules. All four groups report to all councils on their projects. Nursing leaders are invited to attend report time. Report time has been very beneficial because the councils know what each group is working on and some have worked jointly on projects. We also encourage "council hopping," which is an opportunity to discuss projects and ideas with the other councils. If there is a question about a unit or department not represented on the smaller councils, smaller councils will tap into a council with a nurse from the area in question.

Editor's note: On JourneyTalk you can network with your peers, discuss the new manual, share your helpful tips, and get advice on how to meet the program's expectations. Become a member of JourneyTalk when you subscribe to HCPro's Resource Center for the ANCC Magnet Recognition Program®.

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