The most systematic framework of nurses' participation in decision making process has been developed by the American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC), the same organization that confers on US hospitals the prestigious designation of "magnet hospital." To earn the distinction, hospitals usually invest two to five years of work to change their structure to one that complies with the ANCC criteria.
Some of the "magnet hospital" criteria directly address increased decision making participation for nurses like "decentralized, shared decision-making processes prevail throughout the nursing operations of the organization," or "the rehabilitation nurse participates in decision-making regarding allocation of resources used by or for the patient. "
Here are some other ANCC "Magnet Hospital" criteria:
"There is the direction of nurses at all levels of the organization in quality improvement
planning and improvement processes. "
"There is access to appropriate literature and databases for use by the nurse in planning,
providing, and evaluating patient care. "
"There is participation in professional nursing organizations. There is participation in healthcare and community organizations other than professional nursing organizations."
"Peer review processes are in place for all nurses."
Clearly, such expansion of nurses' administrative, leadership and political roles is here to stay thanks to the wide-spread consensus that it would only increase the efficiency, rationality and fairness of our existing healthcare system.
Now it's up to our well-trained and qualified nurses to run through this portal of opportunity and make the best of it. The decades ahead will be an exciting one for our nursing community, full of fascinating professional challenges and growth opportunities. It's a good time to serve as nurses again.