Pi Phi Chapter

Nurse Perception of Empowerment at Gundersen Health System

Nursing Research on the Green

2017 Abstract

Katie Cook, BSN, RN and Karen Hayter, MS, RN (PhD Candidate) – Gundersen Health System and Viterbo University

  • Background:  A work environment of empowerment allows nurses to participate in the decision-making process and is linked to job satisfaction, autonomy and work effectiveness. It is believed nurses working in an environment which allows access to information, provides support with resources necessary to do the job, and opportunity to learn and grow, empowers nurses. 
  • Significance:  Empowerment is an innovative method to manage the shortage of registered nurses while continuing to provide high-quality patient care. 
  • Purpose/objective:  The first purpose of this secondary data analysis study conduced at Gundersen Health System is to measure the perception of structural empowerment of patient side nurses, patient side nurses participating in Unit Practice, Education, Quality and Safety (UPEQS) or Department Practice, Education, Quality and Safety (DPEQS) committees and patient side nurses participating in nursing councils. The second purpose is to determine if there is a difference in the perception of structural empowerment among patient side nurses, UPEQS or DPEQS patient side nurse committee members, and patient side nurses participating in nursing councils. 
  • Methods/project:  A secondary data analysis was completed from the data obtained through the study 'Longitudinal Evaluation of a Professional Practice Model as Related to Nurse Empowerment, Retention, and Self-care'.
  • Results:  The research study results indicated there was not a statistical difference between the three subgroups, Patient side nurses (mean = 21.3), UPEQS/DPEQS members (mean = 22.06), and Council members (mean = 21.61). All three subgroups scored high in the moderate category (low 6-13, moderate 14-22 and high 23-30). 
  • Clinical implications:  There are two ways to interpret the results, first patient side nurse's perception of empowerment is moderately high without participating in councils. It may indicate nurses have opportunities to grow, work in a supportive environment, and have access to resources and supplies. The other way to interpret the data is to ask the question why do members of unit and hospital councils do not have increased perception of empowerment? They are the decision making body for nurses with greater access to information and collaboration with heighten responsibilities.  Literature has shown as shared governance strengthened so does nurse empowerment. Are there opportunities to promote and recognize members, providing additional education related to purpose and expectations, and creating an environment of equity and ownership?

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