Attempting Shared Governance Within a School of Nursing

Friday, 28 July 2017

Laura L. Opton, DHSc1
Carol Boswell, EdD, RN, CNE, ANEF, FAAN2
Donna C. Owen, PhD1
(1)School of Nursing, Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center, Lubbock, TX, USA
(2)School of Nursing, Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center, Odessa, TX, USA


The governance structure of schools of nursing has the capability to augment the work environment for both faculty and staff. The pressure and intricacy of the multifaceted academic milieu have been postulated as contributing issues in the significant number of open academic nurse educator positions (Baker, Fitzpatrick, & Griffin, 2010). While staff members are usually involved as a supportive role in the hierarchical academic structure, they are frequently separate from faculty. Although faculty and staff both work to meet the strategic aims identified by the school of nursing, this structured separation by role has the potential to create a faculty-staff divide that impacts the work environment. Few studies have scrutinized shared governance as it relates to educational organizations. Shared governance holds the ability to influence the direct work of both faculty and staff by affecting job satisfaction and the level of work engagement. Job satisfaction has been connected to engagement and empowerment within other workplace settings.


The aim of this research study was to compare the School of Nursing's faculty and staff perceptions of job satisfaction and engagement in the workplace prior to and following the implementation of an integrated shared governance system. A longitudinal quasi-experimental, pre-post design is being used. Data was collected at the beginning of shared governance implementation and after the first full year of implementation. The project will continue to survey annually for an additional two years. Approximately 115 full time educators along with 150 full time staff are employed at a Texas public health sciences center school of nursing. Each of these individuals was asked to participate in the study. A power analysis was done that indicated a minimum sample of 120 (60 faculty/60 staff) was needed to obtain an eighty percent power with medium effect using regression analysis (Faul, Erdfelder, Buchner, & Lang, 2009). Six instruments were selected: An investigator developed qualitative online Engagement in the Work Environment Survey; Meyers’ (1993) Affective Commitment Scale; Spreitzer’s (1995), Psychological Empowerment Scale; Laschinger et al’s, (2001) Conditions of Work Effectiveness II (CWEQ-II); Hackman and Oldham's (1975) Job Diagnostic Survey (JDS) and an investigator-developed demographic questionnaire.


This presentation will report the findings from the initial survey along with the data collected after the first year of shared governance. Sixty-nine total individuals completed the initial survey out of the 269 employees within the school of nursing. Three questions results from the analysis: What values guide your work as a faculty or staff at the School of Nursing?; What are the positive “things” you get out of SON’s committee work/meetings?, and What are the barriers to participation and/or being productive in SON’s committees/meetings?


The idea of shared governance is a process which is needed within each and every governmental setting whether locally or globally. The comments provided by the School of Nursing team members using the survey in this study opened the avenue for dialogue between faculty and staff. The process of implementing an effective shared governance structure which embraces staff roles, faculty roles, and administrative issues continues to be a challenge. The lessons learned through this process can be employed in a wide variety of settings and situations.