Letter to the Editor on "Shared Governance..."

Shared Governance: Is It a Model for Nurses to Gain Control Over Their Practice?

April 30, 2004
in response to topic Shared Governance: Is It a Model for Nurses to Gain Control Over Their Practice?

Dear Editor:

I found the articles on Shared Governance (SG) very thought provoking. I agree that SG is an ideal and for that reason it can be elusive. Since we live and work in a culture that demands cost effectiveness, balancing the idealism of SG with the pragmatism demanded by the dollar becomes a challenge for nurse leaders and followers. Being an ideal, SG has to begin with each individual. It cannot be generated or preached from above. The structure for SG is necessary, but not sufficient by itself. Individual nurses need to desire and allow the processes of SG to evolve. It is likely that research shows various outcomes related to SG because the structure and the desire are both necessary to achieve optimal SG outcomes.

Further, SG requires a passion on the part of nurses to develop transformational leadership skills. One way to develop these skills is through higher education. Unfortunately some nurses perceive SG as just another gimmick to increase nurse responsibility without the accompanying increase in pay. They are resistant to the idea of obtaining advanced education because the work environment does not support or reward it. I think that any organization that recognizes the importance of higher education and supports higher education in nursing will achieve the empowerment of nurses needed to maximize the outcomes of SG. Advanced education increases self-confidence and changes perceptions, and perceptions are crucial to the empowerment needed for SG.

Bertha Rebello RN, MSN
Memphis, TN