Nursing Professional Governance (NPG) at the University of Vermont Medical Center was started in early 2017 to replace a unit-based practice councils structure. NPG was formed by the hands of Chief Nursing Officer Kate Fitzpatrick who noticed that although these unit-based councils were getting changes made effectively in their practices, there was no space for all nurses to collaborate. Together with Eileen Whalen, CEO of the UVM Medical Center, Kate provided nurses with the opportunity to have a stronger voice, and developed Nursing Professional Governance.
NPG, or shared governance, allows nurses at the point of care to create change and impact decisions. With this united front, nurses are empowered to have ownership in their practice. Not only does the council positively affect the overall patient experience through institutional decision-making, but it allows for nurses to gain professional skills. These professional development opportunities include learning how to conduct a meeting, how to manage conflict, how to get to an effective decision and how to make sure all voices are heard. These key skills provide support for growth in nursing.
Coordinating Council - This base council includes members such as Kate Fitzpatrick, CNO, and clinical nurse leader Michelle Nadeau. This council provides the support for the rest of the structure.
Core Councils - Safety & Quality, Patient & Family Experience, Professional Development & Scholarship, and Nursing Practice & Experience. Members of these councils include representation from nurses in all areas of the organization.
Service Line Councils - Ortho & Surgery, CV & Neuroscience, Emergency Care & Access, Maternal Child Health, Periop, Primary Care, and Medicine, Oncology & Mental Health. These councils bring together nurses who work with similar patient populations but in different settings, representing the entire continuum of care.
Nurse Management Council - This council serves as advocates, to make sure the resources needed to make change are available.
LNA Council - This council creates a forum for LNAs to collaborate with nursing leadership and have influence on positive change for LNAs across the organization.