Magnet Nursing

Collaborative Practice

In the summer of 2003, nurses adopted a shared decision-making model called Collaborative Practice. This model is based on decades of research that demonstrates a high correlation between nursing accountability and patient outcomes. The steering team, composed primarily of staff nurses, spent months working with a national consultant who is also the founder of nursing shared decision-making.  
Since 2003, Aspirus Wausau Hospital nursing staff has continued to exercise their accountability for their practice through the hospital wide and unit based nursing councils. These councils, composed of and led by staff nurses, make the decisions that shape nursing practice in response to changing patient needs, new nursing research, advancing technology, and regulatory requirements.   
The primary tenet of Collaborative Practice is that bedside nurses are accountable for their practice because they are best qualified to identify their patients’ needs and are invested in how the work is accomplished. By educating themselves in professional practice standards, education and research theory, and quality management paradigms, staff nurses participate in a council structure that allows them to combine these with their first-hand understanding of patient needs in order to shape nursing care.
In Collaborative Practice, the role of the nursing directors and managers is to provide the fiscal, human, and system resources required to enable the staff nurses to succeed. The department leaders do not lead the councils.  Rather they coach the staff nurses to be excellent leaders and facilitators themselves.
There are seven hospital-wide nursing councils: Practice, Quality, Education, Research, Advanced Practice, Leadership, and Coordinating. The members of these councils represent nurses in all areas of the hospital, bringing to the meetings the collective voice of the nursing staff.  Decisions are made by consensus, to promote successful implementation and real change.  One additional hospital-wide council, the Patient Care Coordinating Council, consists of representatives from both nursing and other clinical disciplines.  The stated purpose of this council is to provide a forum for nurses and other clinicians to work collaboratively to provide patient centered care and make decisions that support quality patient care.

Although not every nursing staff member can serve on a council or task force simultaneously, each participates in Collaborative Practice and is accountable to identify issues, contribute to solutions, and promote positive change.

Council Structure

Practice Council
Quality Council
Education Council
Advanced Practice Council
Leadership Council
Coordinating Council