Background: Nurse managers have a pivotal role in the success of unit-based councils, which include direct care nurses. These councils establish shared governance to provide innovative, quality-based, and cost-effective nursing care.
Purpose: This study explored differences between direct care nurses' and nurse managers' perceptions of factors affecting direct care nurses' participation in unit-based and general shared governance activities and nurse engagement.
Methods: In a survey research study, 425 direct care RNs and nurse managers were asked to complete a 26-item research survey addressing 16 shared governance factors; 144 participated (response rate = 33.8%).
Results: Most nurse participants provided direct care (N = 129, 89.6%; nurse managers = 15, 10.4%), were older than 35 (75.6%), had more than 5 years of experience (76.4%), and worked more than 35 hours per week (72.9%). Direct care nurses' and managers' perceptions showed a few significant differences. Factors ranked as very important by direct care nurses and managers included direct care nurses perceiving support from unit manager to participate in shared governance activities (84.0%); unit nurses working as a team (79.0%); direct care nurses participating in shared governance activities won't disrupt patient care (76.9%); and direct care nurses will be paid for participating beyond scheduled shifts (71.3%). Overall, 79.2% had some level of engagement in shared governance activities. Managers reported more engagement than direct care nurses.
Conclusions: Nurse managers and unit-based councils should evaluate nurses' perceptions of manager support, teamwork, lack of disruption to patient care, and payment for participation in shared governance-related activities. These research findings can be used to evaluate hospital practices for direct care nurse participation in unit-based shared governance activities.
How do nurses and managers perceive shared governance?
At Shore Health System in Easton, Md., Janet Wilson is the chair of nursing shared leadership and faculty for Critical Care and Graduate University (a hospital-based nurse residency program); Karen Gabel Speroni is chair of the nursing research council; Ruth Ann Jones is director of acute care; and Marlon G. Daniel is a statistician and faculty for Critical Care and Graduate University.
Research Corner is coordinated by Cheryl Dumont, PhD, RN, CRNI, director of nursing research and the vascular access team at Winchester Medical Center in Winchester, Va. Dr. Dumont is also a member of the Nursing2014 editorial board.
The content in this article has received appropriate institutional review board and/or administrative approval for publication.
The authors have disclosed that they have no financial relationships related to this article.