Carla G. Allen, a Senior Staff Nurse in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit at Children’s Hospital of Georgia, has been named Chair of the Shared Governance Coordinating Council (SGCC). Shared Governance in Nursing is a professional practice model that was founded on the principles of partnership, equity, accountability, and ownership that results in a framework to sustain shared decision-making in order to improve the quality of care, safety, and work life.
“Shared governance is all about bedside nurses being involved in decision-making, policy changes, and process improvements. It gives the bedside nurse a voice,” said Allen, whose main role will be to facilitate discussions during monthly meetings of the Shared Governance council chairs.
There are seven councils that comprise SGCC at GRHealth: (1) Clinical Ladder, (2) Education (3) Informatics, (4) Special Projects, (5) Evidence-Based Practice, (6) Performance Improvement, and (7) Professional Practice. Each council is comprised of bedside nurses who review issues and develop process improvements related to the council on which they serve. Councils’ recommendations are presented to the SGCC for endorsement and then reported up to the Nurse Executive Council for final approval.
“An example of a recent council issue would be the dress code policy,” says Allen. “A recommendation was made to revise the dress code, which went to the Evidence-Based Practice Council for review; and then the issue was sent to the Professional Practice Council for their review and recommendation, and so forth.”
Nursing Shared Governance at GRHealth provides direction for the professional practice of nursing. The model directs nurses to participate in clinical decision-making, and empowers nurses to have accountability and ownership for the practice. The ultimate goal is to achieve better patient outcomes.
“We have outstanding nurses at GRHealth who are committed to providing excellent nursing care to every patient, every encounter, every time,” said Allen, who is also chair of the Clinical Ladder Council, which provides for career progression for nurses.
Allen began her career at GRHealth in 2004 as an OB Tech in Labor and Delivery, where she became a Charge Nurse in 2009. She transferred to the NICU last fall. She’s been in Shared Governance since 2008.
This is the first time a senior staff nurse instead of the CNO has chaired Shared Governance at GRHealth, according to Chief Nursing Officer Laura Brower, who is working with the councils to set and achieve more aggressive goals to advance nursing, including pursuing Magnet designation.