Shared Governance at Henry Ford Hospital

In 1987, Henry Ford Hospital was the second hospital in Michigan to implement a Shared Governance model. Shared Governance is the decision making process that places the authority, responsibility and accountability for patient care with practicing nurse clinicians. The model continues to undergo annual evaluation and revisions with input from all Registered Nurses through the Unit Governance Council.

The Shared Governance model provides an opportunity for Registered Nurses to share ideas, solve problems and have a say in matters that impact their work. Shared Governance is also a way to improve the lines of communication between units and other departments, since that flow of information results in better care for the patients.

The Shared Governance structure:

  • provides a mechanism for registered nurses to demonstrate leadership in the development of practice decisions
  • empowers all nursing staff to contribute to work redesign
  • improves the quality of patient and family outcomes

In the shared governance structure, the staff nurses are a large part of the process, nominated and selected from their units to represent an area of practice on one of many councils.

It's all about shared decision-making and empowering staff nurses to impact their practice environment and have a voice in unit decisions. It is important that decisions are made at the bedside by the R.N.s who are implementing practice.

Shared Governance means YOUR voice is heard!

At the core of Shared Governance is the Unit Governance Council.

The purpose of the Unit Governance Council is to empower staff and share accountability for unit decisions related to: customer service and service excellence, practice, performance improvement, education, operations, and retention and recognition. These decisions are limited in scope to the unit only. If an idea, concern, or new findings affects more than the unit it is moved to the appropriate Council.

Besides the Unit Governance Council, there are nine other councils that make up the Shared Governance structure.

  • Councils include: Coordinating, Practice, Education, Research, Regulatory, Administrative, Retention & Recognition, and Quality Improvement

Each member of the nursing staff is responsible to participate in the governance system by seeking information, providing input, and communicating their perspective. The Shared Governance model is structured to promote: excellence in the delivery of nursing care, a milieu to support healing, and processes that put patients and families first.