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Interdisciplinary Shared Governance


It’s here. The new “Interdisciplinary Shared Governance” text from Jones and Bartlett is now available for sale at their website and can also be found for purchase on The new text has been completely edited and reconfigured for contemporary healthcare and serves as a useful tool for those who have developed nursing shared governance approaches and are now ready for the next step of interdisciplinary integration.


The move from concepts of whole systems shared governance to more specific interdisciplinary shared governance was driven by the desire to help disciplinary leadership more easily navigate contemporary quantum thinking on leadership and relationships and build the necessary infrastructure to support it. There is more interest in the intersection and relationships between the disciplines driven by such concepts as evidence-based practice, clinical networks, continuum of care, and clinical service delivery seen as a system. These and other contemporary challenges to traditional organizational structure now require a complete rethinking of the systems, structures, and relationships in health care organizations and agencies necessary to support contemporary practice.


Shared governance in nursing has not only stood the test of time but has proven to be a necessary element of the exemplars of excellence in any clinical organization. Recognizing nursing as a profession and structuring it in a way that assures it operates as a profession has been an essential foundation in establishing professional governance with a profession which serves at the center of healthcare delivery. The requisite role of coordinating, integrating, and facilitating the work of patient care in a variety of settings over 24 hours 7 days a week 365 days a year serves as a central operating framework for the professional practice of nursing. Indeed, nurses manage the continuum of the patient’s experience and all the relationships necessary to assure a positive and effective patient experience at any point along the clinical continuum. In fact, failure to do so creates impediments to flow and clinical integrity serious enough to negatively affect efficacy and excellence with regard to the patient experience. Having made the point clearly and demonstrating the centrality of nursing’s role in a number of different research efforts, it is now time to move that coordinating and integrating role to embrace and engaged relationship with key partners in other disciplines and functions in the healthcare organization. Indeed, it is appropriate to completely rethink these relationships and structure the organization in a way that reflects an infrastructure essential to the support of equity-based and parallel professional clinical functions.


The organization of the new text helps flow through the elements of understanding related to building an entirely different infrastructure reflecting new thinking about complex adaptive systems and the relational networks essential to address the multiple vagaries of affective relationships intersecting around good patient care. The book moves from establishing the foundations of quantum thinking and complex adaptive processes into a rationale supporting interdisciplinary shared governance as a tool for integrating professional practice. The foundations necessary to transform the organization and to think differently about the patient experience in the continuum of care drive the reader to consider new constructs and models for integrating care delivery in building an effective service continuum. While it is appropriate here to suggest that the model simply serves as a foundation for refining and building new approaches to interdisciplinary decision-making and structuring, it does challenge existing infrastructure and calls for significant change. Chapters 5 through 10 focus specifically on the structural and infrastructure elements essential for redefining the healthcare organization, decision-making, infrastructure, governance, and the integrated roles of the professionals in moving clinical practice into an evidence-based information governed clinical context. For the first time in healthcare, an entirely new premise is established for the future of professional relationships, governance, and interaction that recognizes the components and characteristics of 21st century thinking and calls leaders in each healthcare discipline to an interdisciplinary table to work out the structures and relationships necessary to sustain clinical effectiveness in a new world of practice.


It cannot be overstated that the rules governing relationship, practice, and effective delivery of service are fundamentally different from those established in the industrial age. Traditional and industrial views of organization, relationship, and function are not so much incorrect as inadequate to the demands of the time. Current healthcare structures no longer reflect the realities within which systems and people live. It’s time now for discipline leaders to come to the interdisciplinary table to reconceptualize roles, relationships, and structures that better defined the essential elements of the relevant clinical environment supporting essential decision-making and action. No one discipline can decide for itself ever again what it will be or do out of context of its relationship with those upon whom it has an impact and those who impact it. Reconceptualizing and reconfiguring organizational structure, interdisciplinary interaction, decision-making, and evidence-based practice are now central requisites in assuring a more effective and sustainable healthcare system. This new text on interdisciplinary shared governance will serve as an essential foundation for undertaking this dialogue and building new models of interdisciplinary practice that can advance health care in the 21st century in a way that assures more effective and sustainable healthcare outcomes.


And if you are ready for the next step into interdisciplinary shared governance and need support please contact our administrator at and we’ll connect with you ASAP.-Dr. Tim


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