Academic journal article Creative Nursing

Creating a Culture of Shared Governance Begins with Developing the Nurse as Scholar

Academic journal article Creative Nursing

Creating a Culture of Shared Governance Begins with Developing the Nurse as Scholar

Article excerpt

The relationship between shared governance and nursing scholarship is investigated with an emphasis on the connection between stages of scholarly development and nursing action in the evolution of professional practice models. The scholarly image of nursing is described and four critical stages of scholarship (scholarly inquiry, conscious reflection, persistent critique, and intellectual creation) are presented. The development of nursing scholars is described with emphasis on intellectual virtues as described by philosophers and values as described by nursing theorists that are foundational to this process. Shared governance is viewed holistically as a true scholarly process when these elements are in place and are used by nurses.

Creating a culture of shared governance must begin with clear expectations for the nurse to develop and use scholarly strengths and activities. All too often, culture change toward a professional practice model is decided upon and implemented without assessing and supporting the extensive scholarly skills that need to be in place for nurses to function effectively and thrive in a new and radically different environment. Both nursing educators and administrators benefit by recognizing that preparation and nurturing of specific scholarly skills are necessary to allow nurses to develop into the thoughtful, communicative, flexible individuals needed to succeed in shared governance. The sharing of governance is a collaborative act, and the focus in education for this process is often the development of individual clinical skills. Importantly, development of individual scholarly skills has to be in concert with clinical skills for the success of the endeavor.

This article addresses the important role of scholarship in shared governance. First, a definition of shared governance is presented. Following this, the view of nurses as scholars is explored. The four stages of scholarly development and how these can influence shared governance practices are then covered. Teaching strategies that can assist staffnurses in refining and nursing students in acquiring skills for a scholarly approach to shared governance are identified. Intellectual virtues in support of scholarship are then addressed. Finally, the importance of nurse theorists as foundational for developing scholars is highlighted. This article concludes with important ways in which shared governance must include scholarly approaches.


Shared governance has been described as a dynamic process that facilitates a framework for an organizational format. This includes empowerment and point-of-service decision making as key structures in organizations that value the principles of partnership, accountability, equity, and ownership (Porter-O'Grady, 2001). Scholarship can be added to this list.

Shared governance has been viewed as facilitating quality patient care, aiding in retaining nursing staff, and assisting in reducing costs (Barden, Griffin, Donahue, & Fitzpatrick, 2011). Many hospitals seeking American Nurses Credential Center Magnet recognition status have developed nursing shared governance models (Reimer, 2010).

Although shared governance plays a central role in nursing (Anthony, 2004), there have been drawbacks in its use. One focus to explain its lack of success has been a link to expectations (Caramanica, 2004). Caramanica points out that barriers to success in implementing shared governance include inviting rather than expecting nurses to participate, as well as lack of clarity in emphasizing the philosophy as well as the roles and responsibilities inherent in the process of shared governance. I would go further to state that even the clearest expectations may not be enough for success, and that practicing nurses and nursing students must be given a foundation of scholarship that will help them grow incrementally and respond to the increasing demands of the shared governance experience. …

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