Nursing shared governance at hospitals – it’s Finnish future?

Taina Hannele Kanninen (Department of Nursing Science, University of Eastern Finland, Kuopio, Finland)
Arja Häggman-Laitila (Department of Nursing Science, University of Eastern Finland, Kuopio, Finland)
Tarja Tervo-Heikkinen (Clical Nurse Consultant, Kuopio University Hospital, Kys, Finland)
Tarja Kvist (Department of Nursing Science, University of Eastern Finland, Kuopio, Finland)

Leadership in Health Services

ISSN: 1751-1879

Publication date: 6 July 2019

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this study is to describe council structure, its benefits, supportive and obstructive factors and developmental needs as a part of shared governance in a university hospital.

Design/methodology/approach

This is a descriptive study, where semi-structured interviews with 12 nurses was conducted in 2014 and documents from 75 council meetings from 2009 to 2014 were gathered and analyzed. Qualitative content analysis method was used on the data.

Findings

The study hospital has been developing nursing shared governance with unique structure and processes of councils. Professors and university researchers act as chair and members are voluntary nursing staff. The factors supporting the councils are nurse managers’ support, enthusiastic personnel and neighboring university. The factors obstructing the councils are lack of time, understanding and skills. The work of the councils benefits the organization by improving patient care, harmonizing nursing practices and informing decision-making. The council’s developmental needs were more visibility, concentration into everyday problems and interprofessionality.

Research limitations/implications

Applying nursing shared governance structures into an organization improves the professional practice environment of nursing personnel.

Practical implications

The study hospital has its own, unique council structure. It did not cover the whole hospital or all of the nursing personnel, but it is already producing promising results. It should be given an official status and more support from nurse managers, and it should be developed into an inter-professional discussion. The results presented here indicate that shared governance, even, in its early stage, contributes positively to the quality of care, harmonizes nursing practices and informs decision-making. Applying shared governance structures into an organization improves the professional practice environment of nursing personnel. The study showed concrete supporting and obstructing factors that should be notified in nursing leadership.

Originality/value

Despite the extensive empirical studies on nursing shared governance, there is very little research on councils in the Scandinavian countries.

Keywords

Citation

Kanninen, T., Häggman-Laitila, A., Tervo-Heikkinen, T. and Kvist, T. (2019), "Nursing shared governance at hospitals – it’s Finnish future?", Leadership in Health Services, Vol. ahead-of-print No. ahead-of-print. https://doi.org/10.1108/LHS-10-2018-0051

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Publisher

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Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2019, Emerald Publishing Limited

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