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Shared Governance: New Way Nurses are being Heard

When the nurses shared that they were struggling to find opportunities to take PTO, leadership listened. And acted.

“Within days, actions were going into place to address this concern,” said Pam Kayl, DNP, APRN-NP, CHI Health division director – Center for Clinical Practice.

“Nurses also pointed out workflows that didn’t work or that created inefficiencies. We have made changes to the process based on their feedback.”

This kind of input – and resulting action – is the goal of CHI Health’s Nursing Practice Shared Governance Council.

Almost a year ago, nurses from throughout the CHI Health system began to meet regularly to give their peers a voice.

“The nurses tell us, as nursing leaders, what’s really happening, what they really need and about all the amazing ideas they have,” Kayl said.

“But the VPPCS (vice president of patient care services), CHI Health senior vice president - chief nursing officer, Linda Chase, and all of nursing leadership listen and make changes and improvements based on what we learn from these nurses. Hence, they have a voice and it’s heard and acted upon.”

Some call it “reverse mentoring” or “shared leadership.” Kayl called the model “beautiful.”

It was designed by direct care nurses themselves and, “It’s horizontal,” she said. “The executive leadership nursing team is horizontal with the Shared Governance teams.” She also called the monthly meetings “energizing.”

“I love the energy and passion of our nurses,” she said. “I love to meet with them every month and see how they live our mission, and passionately care for our patients.”

At the same time, she added, they’re serving as advocates for the nursing profession while emphasizing collaboration and a system approach.

Structure of Shared Governance: Subcouncils & Councils

The CHI Health model has three subcouncils: Evidence-Based Practice, Professional Practice and Recognition, Recruitment, Retention. They meet virtually every month (with WebEx, Skype, etc.) and once a quarter, in person in Lincoln.

An overarching Coordinating Council is made up of the chair, co-chair subcouncil nurses, executive sponsors and Senior Vice President – Chief Nursing Officer Linda Chase, PhD, RN, NEA-BC, FAAN. The Coordinating Council also meets in person once a quarter and has been meeting virtually during remaining months.