Harnessing passion and potential to establish a unit-based nursing shared governance council

Chloe Jordan1, Georgina Rolf1

1Tasmanian Health Service, Hobart, Australia


Shared governance empowers direct-care nurses to be involved in the decision-making processes related to their practice and thereby enables them to provide enhanced quality care in a safe environment.  Shared governance is an integral element of The Tasmanian Health Services Pathway to Excellence journey. By adopting Pathway to Excellence values the organisation is making a strong commitment to creating supportive and positive working environments where nurses can flourish.

The passion and potential of direct-care nursing staff has been combined to create positive and meaningful change on a busy surgical ward at Tasmanian Health Service Hospitals South with the establishment of a unit-based shared governance council in April 2021. In this presentation we will outline the processes involved in setting up the council and the staff skill mix represented. We will provide examples of the power shared governance has had in encouraging council and non-council nurses to tap into their passions and contribute to positive system and cultural changes within the unit. The presentation will describe hurdles faced by the council as well as some recommendations for future unit-based shared governance councils.

We hope that this presentation empowers other direct-care nurses to incorporate their passion and potential to drive innovation and change using shared governance as the structure. We have certainly witnessed how the process of shared decision-making has led to shared leadership between management and staff and made positive change on the unit possible.


Chloe is a Registered Nurse at the Royal Hobart Hospital and Chair of a unit-based shared governance council. She is excited by the changes that have already happened on the ward and is eager to share the experience of the Tasmanian Health Service’s first unit-based shared governance council with others.

Georgina is an experienced Registered Nurse at the Royal Hobart Hospital. As Vice-Chair of the first unit-based shared governance council in the Tasmanian Health Service, she feels privileged to be contributing to the positive changes on the ward. Georgina believes that empowerment is essential in enabling nurses to flourish.