Nursing Shared Governance and Ethics

Ethics in Shared Governance

Shared governance is a system that allows nurses to participate in operations and activities connected not only to individual patients’ well-being but also to the hospital’s structure. In this type of governing structure, nurses have a chance to obtain more information to care for their patients, make decisions connected to the staffing of hospitals, and participate in policy-making and advocacy (Hess, 2004).

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Thus, shared governance gives nursing professionals a chance to influence the course of the medical development, the establishment, in which they work, and the state of their local community. The ethical approach of this concept can be seen from both formal and informal sides. The notion of nurses being able to contribute to the patient’s care is moral in the sense that it aligns with the central principle of nursing ethics. By giving nurses more information and allowing them to influence the structure of the hospital, establishments help professional nurses to do their job in delivering the best patient care possible.

By utilizing shared governance, hospitals allow nurses to advocate not only for themselves but also for patients. Sharing some responsibilities with nursing staff gives organizations a chance to change policies connected to health care and nursing. Thus, nursing professionals can apply their deep knowledge and understanding of the profession in the policy-making process. A nursing administration that can influence the hospital’s decisions can significantly affect the moral vision of the organization.

Moreover, the concept of nurses concentrating on their professional skills and continuous learning also goes together with the principles of shared governance. Wilson, Speroni, Jones, and Daniel (2014) write that working nurses and managing nurses can work together in the conditions of shared governance. This type of governance often relies on the most experienced nurses as well as on the ideas of new nursing professionals, which brings the ethical considerations of collaborative care to everyone’s attention.

A Nurse Executive Response: Discussion

The response of Herrin (2004) to the proposition made about shared governance by other authors brings attention to several topics that can be discussed further. First of all, the idea that all administration leaders should participate in shared governance because nurses are constrained by various nursing and health care issues is understandable. According to Hess (2017), a new structure of governance moves away from nurses sharing their duties to all professionals contributing their knowledge and experience in some way.

Thus, current professional shared governance includes various individuals that work in hospitals and other organizations acting together to improve the state of health care. Moreover, Herrin (2004) notes that nursing practice involves many types of responsibility, and preparing a nurse to have even more duties may prove to be rather hard. Thus, nursing professionals should be ready to take on these responsibilities after they finish their education. It is important to integrate the concepts of shared governance into the learning process of medical students.

The author also highlights the importance of empowering nurses (Herrin, 2004). The process of empowerment may become one of the most significant steps towards creating nursing managers and leaders, who are ready to participate in governing activities. It is necessary to teach nursing professionals the value of their knowledge and experience. However, the problems of implementing shared governance should not be overlooked. Herrin (2004) outlines such issues as legal limitations, imposed by outer structures, financial restriction of hospitals, and the requirement of creating a solid foundation for nurses to implement the practices of shared governance. Thus, these concerns should be considered not only by nursing professionals but also by hospital management and legal organizations.

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Herrin, D. M. (2004). Shared governance: A nurse executive response. Online Journal of Issues in Nursing, 9(1), 3.

Hess Jr, R. G. (2004). From bedside to boardroom-nursing shared governance. Online Journal of Issues in Nursing, 9(1), 10.

Hess Jr, R. G. (2017). Professional governance: Another new concept? Journal of Nursing Administration, 47(1), 1-2.

Wilson, J., Speroni, K. G., Jones, R. A., & Daniel, M. G. (2014). Exploring how nurses and managers perceive shared governance. Nursing, 44(7), 19-22.

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