Shared Governance

Shared Governance is one of the core components of Stanford Hospital & Clinics Professional Practice Model. The Shared Governance Model is an organizational structure in which nurses and administrators collaboratively determine nursing practice, standards and quality of care. It is founded on the cornerstone principles of partnership, equity, accountability, & ownership at the point of service.

The shared decision making that arises under the structure of Shared Governance contributes to a work environment in which nurses control their practice and exercise influence over organizational policies.

Shared Governance empowers the interdisciplinary staff to define, implement and maintain current practice standards and to implement the vision and strategic plan for patient care. To achieve this end, the Coordinating Council provides oversight for the seven organization-wide councils, all sub-councils/committees, and one or more councils in each department/unit chartered to:

  • Ensure patient safety and promote quality service.
  • Drive accountability to the level of frontline staff.
  • Provide a vehicle for staff to share in decision-making as appropriate to the situation and the Council membership.
  • Engage staff in innovative and collaborative problem-solving and strategy development.
  • Encourage discussion and resolution of Clinical or professional operational issues.

At SHC, Shared Governance is practiced through established councils in each of the following areas:


The purpose of the Practice Council is to oversee the development, implementation and evaluation of practice standards and guidelines in accordance with regulatory requirements, evidence-based literature and practice, and professional organizations.


The Research Council is a decision-making, advising and coordinating body accountable for promoting research and the use of evidence-based practice to assure excellent patient care. This Council assists in the research process, fosters and supports investigative role development among staff and disseminates results of investigative activities.

Nursing leadership

The Nursing Leadership Council provides leadership, coordination and planning for nursing services within SHC. This Council also provides a forum for Nursing Leaders in all departments to communicate about common issues related to nursing practice, workflow, and the nursing professional practice environment.

Professional growth and development

The Professional Growth & Development Council provides a forum to address issues, explore strategies that promote a practice environment which supports and enhances professional achievement and role development, recognize contributions to SHC mission, and foster the recruitment and retention of talented Clinical staff that support the hospital vision of being the best medical center in the nation.

Patient advisory

The Patient Advisory Council enhances the patient care experience by ensuring that the voices of patients and families are represented. The Council is composed of patients who have been treated at SHC for a broad range of medical condition, their family members, and staff representatives. Their primary purpose is to address the concerns of patients and families at all levels by representing patient and family perspectives about the overall patient care experience here at SHC.


The Education Council promotes Clinical competency and professional growth by instituting an educational plan based on professional expectations and responsibilities. This includes ensuring that the educational plan is based on solid education principles and standards.


The Quality Council develops Quality Council members into quality consultants by advancing their skills to accomplish expertise in process and data analysis for select quality improvement initiatives.

Clinical informatics

The Clinical Informatics Council is responsible for collaborating with unit professional nurses, other disciplines, and the Clinical Informatics Department regarding informatics functionality and workflows. The Council evaluates and recommends changes to optimize the electronic medical records based on hospital and department goals, objectives and improvement initiatives. The Council provides a forum for interdisciplinary discussion of common application function issues, feedback on enhancement requests or project work, and sharing of best practice ideas.