List at least five major elements of shared governance that advance professional practice. What changes do you think will most visibly characterize the future of the healthcare system? Why?

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Shared governance is defined by Tim Porter-O'Grady as "a structural model through which nurses can express and manage their practice with a higher level of autonomy." It therefore puts decision-making power into the hands of those who will be entrusted to carry out the practices involved in those decisions.

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Shared governance is defined by Tim Porter-O'Grady as "a structural model through which nurses can express and manage their practice with a higher level of autonomy." It therefore puts decision-making power into the hands of those who will be entrusted to carry out the practices involved in those decisions.

Mary K. Anthony, PhD, RN, identifies five key elements of shared governance which influence the success of its outcome: autonomy and independence in practice, accountability, empowerment, participation and collaboration in decisions that affect patient care, and group governance. These characteristics allow nurses more freedom to shape their work environments and directly impact patient care. In turn, empowering nurses to be involved members of the healthcare plans of their patients translates to a greater sense of satisfaction and generates feelings of contentment about the workplace environment.

Your question leaves a bit of room for interpretation about the changes which might impact the future of healthcare. If you are intended to reflect on the above five key elements, it might be easy to choose an element which you can directly relate to the growing nursing shortage across America. For example, does empowerment or collaboration foster greater feelings of a positive work environment?

If you are supposed to look to trends in general, it might be worthwhile to examine the trends of illnesses present in a growing number of Americans. For example, over seventy-eight million adults and over twelve million children are obese. The effects of obesity impact health in a wide spectrum of illnesses, and many of these people will need the care of a nurse. Another growing health concern is autism, which now affects almost 1,500 people out of every 100,000. How will this growing population affect healthcare in the future?

Of course, the baby boomers are aging, and approximately seventy-six million people are now between fifty-seven and seventy-five. As this population continues to age, geriatric needs will be a growing concern for those involved in healthcare.

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