Perceptions of staff nurse autonomy and management characteristics in shared governance systems and traditional organizational systems
The purpose of this study was to determine if shared governance systems result in an increased perception of autonomy for staff nurses. The population for this study included all registered nurses providing inpatient care at two mid-sized community hospitals in the Midwest, who were not identified as supervisors, managers or executives. The convenience sample was obtained from those completing and returning a distributed survey. The sample was 146 staff nurses from each organization. Only responses from nurses with more than one year experience at the current facility were included in the study. , One hospital had a shared governance system in place. The other hospital had a traditional organizational system.The theoretical framework for the study was the Neuman Systems Model (1989). Staff nurse autonomy was measured by the Nursing Activity Scale (Schutzenhofer, 1987). Management characteristics were measured by the Profile of Organizational Characteristics (Liken, 1978). Also administered was a brief demographic data questionnaire (Schutzenhofer & Musser, 1994).Each hospital provided the researcher with access to participant mailboxes of those registered nurses providing inpatient care and not in management or executive roles Surveys were placed in each mailbox, and drop boxes were made available in unit classrooms in one hospital, and in nursing administration in the other hospital. A reminder notice was placed in each participant mailbox one week after initial survey distribution. Drop boxes were retrieved by the researcher one week following the reminder notice distribution. Study participants were informed about the study by cover letter and invited to participate. Participation was strictly voluntary. Data was available only to the investigator and only group data were reported without reference to individual participants. Participant responses were completely anonymous. Questionnaires were printed on two different colors of paper in order to distinguish between hospitals. No code numbers or other identifying marks were placed on any of the questionnaires. The study provided information on which to base management decisions regarding nursing governance arrangements.