RSSArchive for November, 2011

How effective are you unit-level shared governance councils?

During the November 10th audio conference “Put Shared Governance Into Practice At the Unit Level: Strategies for Running Effective Meetings,” speakers Diana Swihart, PhD, DMin, MSN, CS, RN-BC, and Solimar Figueroa, MSN, MHA, BSN, RN, asked the audience how long their organizations had been living shared governance for nursing service?

Forty-three percent responded they had just started or were less than a year into the process. Thirty-three percent had been working at shared governance for one to three years and 14% had enacted it for four to six years. Ten percent of listeners have had shared governance in place for more than 10 years.

They were also asked about the effectiveness of their unit-level councils. Unsurprisingly, 47% responded their councils were marginally effective. Twenty-six percent had not yet implemented unit-level councils. Of the rest who had, 16% said they were highly effective and 11% said they were essentially another staff meeting.

How do yours stack up?

Apologies and action for famous actors only?

Hospital chief Sandra Coletta is making waves throughout the healthcare community after being frank with her audience of hundreds at the 10th annual dinner of Medically Induced Trauma Support Services (MITSS), a widely respected group that aims to support patients, families, and staffs after things go medically wrong.

She spoke about the death of James Woods’ brother in the emergency department at Kent Hospital in Warwick, RI, after orders were not carried out in a timely manner.

“Quite honestly, I did nothing other than what my mother taught me,” Coletta said of apologizing.

James Woods and the hospital settled the suit, in the process created a foundation, the Michael J. Woods Institute, in honor of his brother. The institute aims to recreate healthcare from a human factors perspective.

Similar action was taken after Dennis Quaid’s twins were put in peril because of a medication administration mistake. (According to an April 2010 USA Today story, Quaid said Cedars-Sinai hospital in LA “stepped up to the plate and spent millions of dollars on bedside bar codes.” He and his wife also created the Quaid Foundation, which has merged with the Texas Medical Institute of Technology.) Do you think these cases are addressed more swiftly, and more apologetically, because of their high-profile nature? Or do you think the tides are turning?

Of course, Sorrel King, without being famous (at least then), spurred plenty of action on her own. But are hospitals finally reacting with action and apologies, even without fame and publicity?

Source: WBUR

First published on Patient Safety Monitor Blog.

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Practical tips for implementing shared governance

Diana Swihart, PhD, DMin, MSN, CS, RN-BC, shares the following practical tips and best practices for ensuring success when building shared governance.

  • Schedule a day-long retreat away from the organization to prepare organizational and nursing leaders to implement shared governance. Discuss the role shared governance plays in the ANCC Magnet Recognition Program(r) (MRP) journey. Have subject matter experts present topic discussions on specific points: leadership, shared governance partners, steering committee formation, design team for the shared governance model, a business case for MRP and shared governance, and roles of direct-care nurses and the multidisciplinary team members.
  • Create expectations for staff contributions, beginning in the new employee orientation and continuing throughout their careers.
  • Communicate, communicate, communicate! Have a nursing town hall meeting at least once a quarter to facilitate open communication among nursing staff and leaders.
  • Administer the Index of Professional Nursing Governance surveys and see how your organization “measures up”-help build the repository of information on the efficacy and value of shared governance in healthcare settings.
  • Use journal clubs, for example, to bring nursing research to the bedside and engage direct-care nurses in evidence-based practice for developing and implementing advanced decision-making and critical thinking.
  • Let direct-care nurses meet each year to review organizational competencies and unit/area needs and determine which competencies they will focus on for that year (high-risk/time-sensitive, changed, problematic, and/or new).
  • Train every registered nurse on each unit/area to be charge or lead nurse. Rotate the role and responsibilities to encourage leadership skills development and shared decision-making among all team members.

Source: Book excerpt adapted from Shared Governance: A Practical Approach to Transform Professional Nursing Practice by Diana Swihart, PhD, DMin, MSN, CS, RN-BC. Click here to visit

Nurse leaders upbeat at Nursing Management Congress

I just returned from the annual Nursing Management Congress and it was a pleasure to meet so many nurse leaders who are committed and passionate about nursing.

The conference was held in Las Vegas and for three days the 1,000 plus attendees ignored the lure of the bright lights outside and focused on education and networking. The three topics on everyone’s lips were transforming care delivery, the changing role of nursing, and how to be a better leader.

Many of the most popular sessions focused on transformational leadership and how to find more time in your day. I particularly enjoyed one called “Why am I so tired when there’s still so much to do?” by Rhonda Lawes, RN, MS, CNE, assistant professor, University of Oklahoma College of Nursing, in Tulsa. Lawes explained the nine myths for why we’re so tired and what we can do about it. I am going to implement several of her suggestions as they were so practical and straightforward. She certainly left me invigorated and feeling like I can make some changes in my life that will make me feel like I have more time and can get more done.

The conference also covered the changing face of healthcare and provided a chance to discuss pressing issues such as value-based purchasing and nursing’s role. Attendees were buzzing about:

  • The Future of Nursing report: How to implement its recommendations and how it will change the profession
  • Value-based purchasing: How this will affect nursing and what do we need to know
  • Patient engagement: There’s more reason than ever before to pay attention to this topic, which nursing can really own
  • Quality: Preventing HAIs and all quality improvement initiatives
  • Leadership: Being a better manager, improving communication, and retaining a committed and engaged nursing staff

Keynote speaker Tim Porter-O’Grady, DM, EdD, ScD(h),FAAN, said it’s time for nursing to unbundle its work and decide what it will no longer do so that nurses are able to focus on what’s most important in the changing face of care delivery.

Click here to read a longer article on his fascinating and informative presentation and learn the strategies he shared that nurse leaders can implement now.