Shared Governance at Froedtert gives staff nurses the opportunity to influence how they deliver patient care, educate patients and staff, and document care given. Each of the three councils of Shared Governance – Practice Council, Development Council and Quality Council – have a role in this process at both the unit and hospital-wide level. The unit and hospital-wide councils work both together and independently, depending on the focus and scope of the identified need.
Shared Governance gives us the opportunity to really listen to our nurses. The nurses create policies, set standards, do research and constantly monitor their own practice to make sure it's cutting edge. If a pilot procedure works well on one unit, it is put into practice in other settings. We know this sort of empowerment not only keeps our nurses engaged, it results in better care for our patients.
The Development Council focuses primarily on educating patients and staff. When educational needs are identified, members of the Development Council then determine how to best meet those needs and perform an evaluation to assess effectiveness. The Development Council is also dedicated to recruiting and retaining staff. Various methods are used to determine staff needs at the unit and hospital levels, including annual staff surveys, education assessments included with annual evaluations and evaluation of educational offerings.
The Quality Council is responsible for monitoring quality of care provided to patients. This is achieved by a variety of methods, including patient satisfaction surveys, monitoring regulatory standards, documentation monitoring and through monitoring of quality indicators on a unit-by-unit basis. If a quality of care issue is identified, the Quality Council takes corrective action through an intensive evaluation and then monitors for improvement. The Quality Council also collaborates with other disciplines on quality assessment and improvement issues.
The primary function of the Practice Council is reviewing and revising clinical policies and procedures, standards of care, and care plans. Evidence-based nursing practice guides this process. The division-based council disseminates practice changes to unit-based councils and other staff members. Practice Council members also discuss ethical issues, provide a referral service for staff nurses to the Ethics Committee and provide education on nursing ethics issues.