1. Brooks, Beth A. PhD, RN, CHE

Article Content

Considering the challenges and costs inherent in implementing shared governance, it is essential that we find ways to measure the benefits of shared governance. Much of the early research on shared governance was of limited scope and quality. The nurse executive who could persuade the chief executive officer to implement shared governance with no financial, patient, or staff outcome data was fortunate indeed.


Although there is more research to guide practice now, major questions related to shared governance remain unanswered: What does shared governance cost? Do staff nurses understand their role in shared governance? Are staff prepared (either in school or on the job) to function in shared governance cultures? Are managers prepared to lead and manage in shared governance cultures? What outcomes will be realized?


This descriptive study used the Index of Professional Nursing Governance (IPNG) to explore staff nurses' perception of governance in 2 Midwestern urban community hospitals participating in a 5-year nurse retention project funded by the Nurse Reinvestment Act. Using paper-and-pencil questionnaires, data were collected at each facility. Approval to conduct the study was granted by the institutional review board. An informed consent/introductory letter was provided to each registered nurse in the sample (N = 1,000). Returning the survey implied consent to participate in the study. In both organizations surveyed (n = 145), results indicated that traditional governance dominated decision making. In both settings, on each of the 6 subscales, scores ranged from 86 to 172, indicating traditional governance. These results were not surprising because neither organization had begun work on a developing a shared governance model.