Experiencing nursing governance: developing a post merger nursing committee structure.
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In a mid-sized city in south-central Ontario, two hospitals with four physical sites underwent a merger to form one large corporation; this merger was in response to the recommendations of a provincial restructuring commission. Health care delivery within the large corporation was reorganized using a program management structure. An outcome of program management within this corporation was the dissolution of the traditional nursing departments. In recognition of the need for a professional voice, the corporation created a new governance structure, which included the Professional Advisory Committee. Twenty-five disciplines are represented within this committee; each of these disciplines created its own professional committee. Nursing, then, was responsible for developing the Nursing Practice Committee (NPC). The following article describes the process by which front line nursing staff developed the NPC. A nursing structure task force was struck to accomplish this purpose; the task force is described, including membership, mandate, activities, principles and goals. The environmental assessment that was conducted by the task force is described, along with the process by which the NPC structure was designed and implemented. Challenges and successes experienced are presented. Rosabeth Kanter's framework for staff empowerment is used to understand how nursing governance was transformed in the development of the NPC.
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