CNO Roundtable 2022

Getting Involved with Shared Governance

Taking a role in organizational decision-making

Just because you’re not yet in a formal leadership role doesn’t mean you can’t take an active role in organizational decision-making. Our CNO panelists strongly recommend getting involved with staff councils, unit committees or other shared governance structures within your institution.

Join a Committee

Shared governance models may take different forms or be called different things depending on where you work, but our CNO panel agrees that they’re a great way for staff to share ideas and feedback.

“The best ideas are born from those closest to the work, and committees or councils should strive to empower clinical nurses to share their thoughts,” says Joyce Leido.

Lauren Spilsbury adds that shared governance is also an effective way to “change the paradigm of administrators and physicians making the decisions when it comes to bedside care. Join a committee and have your voice heard. Take control of your profession!”

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CNOs whose institutions have shared governance models say the staff involvement is a real boon to organizational leadership. “Shared governance and unit-based councils can help bidirectional communication,” says Jinhee Nguyen. “It’s valuable to have unit champions on key performance initiatives to represent frontline­­ experiences.”

Lori Burnell adds that shared leadership also “motivates nurses to work beyond their self-interest and contribute to the greater goals of the organization.”

Understand the Time Commitments

Before you sign up for a council or committee, be sure you’re clear about how much time it’ll require, which could be substantial. Anita Girard explains that at her institution, “the clinical nurses and interprofessional team come together once a month for an eight-hour day.”

Nursing Education

“Unfortunately, some nurses struggle with the time commitments required to be a committee member,” notes Ceonne Houston-Raasikh. “However, if nurses are willing to invest the time, many organizations have committees dedicated to professional practice, patient safety and nursing peer review — all excellent ways for nurses to contribute to positive change.”

“The more involved nurses are at this level, the greater the chance to create positive career opportunities and develop a work environment that they enjoy,” adds Ramona Pratt.

There Are Always Ways to Contribute

If you don’t have the time to serve on a committee, you can still contribute by volunteering for specific projects or presenting your suggestions to directly to management. “If you can see a better way to do something, bring your idea to your leader,” suggests Sarah Stevens.

“As nurse leaders, it’s important that we foster an environment that encourages staff to bring ideas, challenges and concerns directly to leadership,” says Gloria Sanchez-Rico. “My door is always open to any member of my team.”

Return to CNO Roundtable 2022 main page to read more.

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