Involving staff and promoting collaboration in developing, implementing and evaluating clinical practice can be challenging. What is the best approach to empower clinical nurses to have a voice in decision-making processes that pertain to nursing practice, standards and quality of care?
A Professional Practice Council (PPC), based upon a principle of Shared Governance, is one approach to increase the professional autonomy and authority of the staff nurse.
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As a method to empower staff nurses and increase professional authority and accountability at the bedside, a PPC was developed and implemented. The purpose of the PPC is to evaluate nursing practice and identify areas in which care can be improved. Each member of the PPC is responsible for bringing clinical issues for discussion either generated by feedback from the staff or from experience they have had themselves. Actions are generated which may include educational interventions, revisions of standards of care or the initiation of clinical protocols.
Due to the ownership by the staff, the PPC has proven to be a catalyst for change resulting in increased involvement of the bedside staff nurse in clinical issues, improved communication amongst all caregivers and improved staff nurse satisfaction. Nursing administration and the medical team look to the PPC for collaborative problem solving, participative leadership decision making and implementation of innovative ideas. Through shared-decision making via the PPC, the staff gains professional autonomy and accountability for the quality of their clinical practice.