Shared Governance: The Transformation of a College of Nursing

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Problem: While shared governance (SG) literature is present in practice, minimal literature exists addressing SG in nursing education. Using principles of quality improvement one College of Nursing (CON) transformed its hierarchal, paternalistic model to a SG model for its governance structure.

Purpose: This discussion will introduce the SG model and the CON’s stages of transformation by blending quality improvement approaches with Prochaska’s change theory.Method: Frustration during the pre-contemplation stage with the college administration’s perceived communication deficits was an initial barrier to SG. This deficit was a primary reason that faculty wanted SG. As faculty began to look inward, it became apparent that administration was not solely responsible. The governing model was ineffective as well.

During the contemplation stage, faculty explored the CON governance structure. Many faculty were ambivalent about these explorations which resulted in faculty turnover and instability in the classroom. Concurrently, during this tumultuous time, many faculty banded together, held meetings, gathered facts, weighed options, and began exploring SG.

The preparation stage involved faculty embracing a vision of SG for the CON. The CON hired a mediator to address faculty anxieties and administration’s ineffective attempts to appease faculty requests. Mediation resulted in a change in CON top administration and departmental structure.

The lengthy action stage had some faculty and staff disillusioned that SG was not in the best interest of the CON. Transforming the governance model had mishaps and setbacks. These misfortunes led the employees charged with designing the SG model insight into how all CON employees would have representation. Perseverance of formal and informal CON leadership prevailed. Evaluation: Currently, the CON faculty, staff and administration are adjusting to the SG model. During this year, evaluation of the SG model will occur. Providing an example of how methods associated with quality improvement and Prochaska’s change theory can be applied to a CON governance will assist organizations in how transformation occurs.


Atlanta, GA

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