Shared Governance in Nursing

UNM Hospitals selected to institute in 2004 shared governance as its organizational decision-making. Shared governance, developed by Tim Porter O'Grady, is an organized structure for shared decision-making between staff and management. Shared governance is based on the belief that both people and the nature of work in an organization are all partners in the enterprise. The importance of shared governance in an organization is reflected in a number of ways:

  • Staff are encouraged to participate in organization-wide decision making and their contributions are recognized.
  • Partnerships are encouraged between staff and management.
  • Staff ownership and responsibility for decision-making are encouraged.
  • Interdependence and cooperation between management and staff are promoted.
  • Autonomy and professional development are promoted.
  • Trust, respect and open/honest communication are facilitated.

Unit Shared Governance Councils

Each unit has a Shared Governance Council and meets monthly. Each area also has an Area Council to address issues that affect units within the specific area. Many units have charters highlighting the rules and procedures of their council.

A Nursing Staff Council was developed in 2006 that is made up of chairs, co-chairs and alternates. The purpose of this council is to provide a formalized two-way communication vehicle between Nursing Administration and Nursing Staff Members. The Council meets monthly and consists of staff and management presentations, sharing of best practices and discussion of system issues and solutions.

Porter-O'Grady, T., Hawkins, M.A., Parker, M.L. (Eds.).(1997). Whole-systems shared governance: Architecture for integration. Gaithersburg, Md: Aspen Publishers. PP 1-314.