The Science Journal of the American Association for Respiratory Care

2012 OPEN FORUM Abstracts


Dana Stauffer; Penn State Hershey Medical Center, Hershey, PA

Background: The concept of shared governance or shared decision-making is evident in many business sectors. A shift from hierarchic decision-making, shared governance involves team members providing diverse and creative input, which results in them owning a stake in the bigger picture. It has been suggested that only 10% of departmental decisions should be made by management, allowing all members to have a voice in the decision-making process1. The Department of Respiratory Care at the Penn State Hershey Medical Center implemented shared governance in 2007. Since implementation, the leadership team has sought to strengthen the council structure by periodically reviewing outcomes. Education, clinical practice, and quality of work life are areas encompassed by the department’s shared governance model. Method: Ninety-five members of the Departments of Respiratory Care & Pulmonary Diagnostics were surveyed in March 2012. The survey was distributed to all respiratory therapists and support staff within the two work areas. Recipients of the survey were asked to rate four statements related to the department’s shared governance model and decision-making processes. Results: Twenty-four members (25%) of the department responded to the survey related to shared governance. When asked if shared governance positively affected the department, 45.9% of respondents agreed with this statement. In terms of having the ability to influence decision-making, only 33.3% believed this to be an accurate statement. 67.7% of respondents agreed there are opportunities to improve the share-governance model within the department. Conclusion: The low response rate and perception that team members have in their ability to influence decision making within the Respiratory Care and Pulmonary Diagnostics work area could be the result of many factors. It is apparent to the author that there are numerous opportunities to improve the understanding of core principles related to shared governance. The survey results will help drive the next phase of shared governance within the department, realizing that individuals closest to the point of impact are pivotal in identifying issues, developing strategies for problem solving, and making decision that move the team forward. Sponsored research—none. 1. Porter-O’Grady T, Hawkins, MA, Parker ML. (Eds.). Whole-Systems shared governance: Architecture for integration. Gaithersburg, MD: Aspen Publishers. Sponsored Research - None