We have a variety of councils which are working quite well. They usually take a good year or so to really take off and have a life of their own, so take the time to have the council or councils be successful.
We have an education, service and satisfaction, clinical practice, professional development, quality, safety, intentional rounding and now a relationship based nursing council just getting off the ground. Once a month the 2 co-shairs come to a unit based committee and report out on what their councils are doing. As the manager, I have set forth the expectation that everyone needs to be engaged and work with a committee. NOW that said, it does not mean that everyone needs to be at a meeting...For instance through the education council, we have developed best practice nurses who are experts at something and they work throughout the year helping their peers on the rotations they work to get good at that clinical task (central line care, CAPD, accessing mediports, etc) The safety champions help to check the isolation carts outside the doors and make sure supplies are there or that the peer is using them effectively. They also do walk the deck checks to insure that we are meeting regulatory items. Professional development members are helping their peers to fill out the clinical ladder paperwork and are championing everyone working to their highest level (plus they will get paid more per hour) Last year, we put on 12 one hour sessions on leadership that were one CE each so that every nurse had the in-house opportunity to obtain the needed 6 hours of CE for their ladder completions. Because you get peers helping peers, versus the traditional parent-child relationship styles that hospitals work in we have made tremendous strides in what our unit looks like. The least falls, no reportable pressure ulcers, the best infection rates
a waiting list of applicants for the next available job openings, improved staff and patient satisfaction. It takes a lot of work up front but getting your peers involved is the ticket. There must be things you think could be done more effectively. Right now I can honestly say my nursing staff really doesn't need me as a manager as they are doing the right things and this is what your leadership team should do as they help you move councils to fruition! Whether you work in a union or non-union environment, many contracts include councils of some sort in the work flow. The blessing is that each unit can make theirs work for themselves. Our unit is further along then some others in our hospital but each unit works at their own pace and dependent on being able to staff for patients, etc. Good luck