Shared Governance

Shared Governance

This term is thrown around in nursing, but few places truly practice shared governance. By definition, Shared Governance is a professional practice model, founded on the cornerstone principles of partnership, equity, accountability and ownership that form a culturally sensitive and empowering framework, enabling sustainable and accountability-based decisions to support an interdisciplinary design for patient care.

In practice it means:

  • Integrated Accountability
  • Equality of Positions
  • Synergistic Environment
  • Cohesive Purpose

In a true Shared Governance environment there can be no:

  • Separated Responsibility
  • Tiered Positions
  • “We-They” atmosphere
  • Divided Goals
  • Independent Activities

Some environments have:

  • Misconstrued themselves as a shared governance model
  • Participation which is solicited but optional
  • No obligation to use staff contributions
  • Management who retain the right to make the final decision
  • Accountability which rests with management

In a true shared governance environment, there are four principles present:


  • Relationship between all stakeholders
  • Essential to relationship building
  • Implies all have a key role in fulfilling purpose
  • Involves all staff in decisions and processes


  • Maintains focus on services and customers
  • States no role more important than another
  • Integrated into structures and processes


  • Essence at the core of shared governance
  • Secured in roles by staff producing results
  • Facilitates partnerships for sharing decisions


  • Acknowledges importance of everyone's work
  • Designates where work is done and by whom
  • Enables participation of all team members
  • Establishes obligation to own what one does

At CHI St. Vincent, the bedside nurses helped design the process by which decisions are made. They are at the core of every decision that impacts bedside care. As experts, they are relied upon to help as we continually improve our nursing practice environment.

Come experience true Shared Governance at CHI St. Vincent Health System. We will welcome you and value your contributions.

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