Nurse Driven Programs Create Positive Change for Patients

Rush Copley Recognized with Accreditation from Forum for Shared Governance

Aurora, IL – The internationally recognized Forum for Shared Governance recently awarded shared governance accreditation to Rush Copley Medical Center. Shared governance is an innovative management model ensuring nurses are the ones making clinical decisions at the bedside, while authorizing them to influence the resources that support them.

“Rush Copley’s shared governance structure is a collaborative, patient-directed decision making process that helps nurses and health care team members set goals, priorities and achieve quality outcomes,” said Mary Shilkaitis, MSN, MBA, RN, NEA-BC, Vice President, Patient Care Services, and Chief Nursing Officer. “For more than 10 years our structure has flourished and today many of our top tier outcomes can be attributed to our governance model.”

How Shared Governance Making Benefits Patients

While a shared decision making structure is beneficial to a nurse’s professional growth and development, this structure has prompted nurse-driven programs that benefit patients at Rush Copley.

NICU Baby iSeeYou Program

Ashley Talip, Julie Everson and Carol Heinz, nurses in Rush Copley’s NICU, coordinated a program to help parents connect to their newborn. When family members are not able to be at their NICU baby’s bedside, it can be stressful and worrisome. The hospital’s Baby iSeeYou program allows families to visit with their newborns when they can’t physically be in the hospital. Through the use of an iPad, Rush Copley NICU nurses schedule video calls with parents to visit with their babies at the bedside. Being able to see their baby provides comfort and reassurance to parents.   

Vascular Services, Maximum Allowable Contrast Dose (MACD)

Orlando Maldonado, BSN, RN, RCIS, Clinical Nurse in Vascular Services, used Rush Copley’s shared governance to intervene and improve care. Orlando reviewed the new evidence-based recommendations and then critically evaluated the current process by completing a retrospective chart audit. Orlando identified that 27 percent of patients receiving contrast exceeded the maximum recommended dosing during PCI procedures. Orlando then worked collaboratively with the vascular services team to implement a new evidence-based practice. Orlando was both empowered and autonomous in the contrast dosing review, illustrating how nurses can direct positive changes for patients.

“Through rigorous survey of all nursing staff, managers, and administrators, Rush Copley has demonstrated its nurses call the shots for their patients,” said Robert Hess, PhD, RN, FAAN, CEO and Founder, Forum for Shared Governance. “Shared governance has been associated with better professional, organizational, and patient outcomes, according to research studies. If patients get sick, they should make sure the ambulance takes them to a hospital accredited in shared governance.”

According to Dr. Hess, because shared governance as a work environment carries marketing appeal to nurses, many hospitals claim to have it when they don’t.

“Some hospitals put a structure in place in name only,” Hess said. “By using extensive survey methodology, the Forum for Shared Governance has been able to determine whether a hospital has real shared governance. Rush Copley is one of those institutions.”

About the Forum for Shared Governance

The Forum for Shared Governance is a clearinghouse for promoting and disseminating research about shared governance and similar organizational innovations that help empower nurses and other healthcare professionals in their workplaces. It owns rights to the only methods of quantifying the presence of shared governance. Its instruments have been used by hundreds of hospitals across the globe for more than 25 years. It is the ONLY organization of its kind. For more information visit

About Rush Copley

Rush Copley Medical Center in Aurora, IL, is a 210-bed hospital that serves the greater Fox Valley area. Over 500 physicians and 2,500 clinical and professional staff members provide advanced medicine and extraordinary care to patients. Rush Copley is part of Rush, an academic health system comprising Rush University Medical Center, Rush Copley Medical Center and Rush Oak Park Hospital.

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