Nursing Autonomy & Empowerment Culture of Nurse Empowerment Created by nurses for nurses, the shared governance structure enables bedside nurses to maintain an environment that fosters autonomy and evidence-based decision making. Shared governance is also vital to the recruitment and retention of highly qualified nurses who value professional development – and who engage in mentorship of each new generation of nurses. Taking a Leadership Role The fundamental belief behind our shared governance structure is that patients are best served when practice decisions are made by the health care team members closest to their side. Highland nurses take the lead in advancing the interdisciplinary care process, while partnering with patients and their family members throughout the patient’s care experience. Our shared governance structure supports this partnership by creating mechanisms for integration of best practices at the unit level, and through effective communication with unit councils. Acting in a Responsible, Trustworthy and Credible Manner The Highland Hospital Nursing Shared Governance Councils provide the primary structure for professional nurses to actively participate in making decisions that affect their professional nursing practice. The shared governance model enables direct care nurses to create and maintain a professional practice environment that fosters evidence-based decision making and autonomy in practice, while promoting practice partnerships with interdisciplinary team members. The structure fosters professional accountability and nursing autonomy. An added benefit of the shared governance model adopted at Highland Hospital is the continued enrichment of the work environment, which strengthens efforts of recruitment and retention of nurses who value professional development and a participative, decision-making environment. This level of engagement is also evident within the mentorship of each new generation of nurses.