Forum for Shared Governance Accredits Southwestern Vermont Medical Center
Ashley Jowett
/ Categories: NEWS, 2022

Forum for Shared Governance Accredits Southwestern Vermont Medical Center

BENNINGTON, VT—April 16, 2022— Southwestern Vermont Medical Center (SVMC), part of Southwestern Vermont Health Care (SVHC), is pleased to announce that it has earned “shared governance accreditation” from the Forum for Shared Governance.  Shared governance is an innovative management model that ensures nurses are empowered to make clinical decisions at the point of care and to influence the availability of resources that support their practice. The process of accreditation requires a rigorous survey of nursing staff. There are only 31 organizations in the country who have achieved this accreditation.

“This is a meaningful accreditation for both patients and nurses,” said Pamela Duchene, APRN, PhD, chief nursing officer and the vice president for Patient Care Services. “Patients can have faith that nurses have a broad range of control when advocating in their best interests. To current and prospective nurses at SVMC, the accreditation validates that they have a powerful voice when it comes to making decisions that affect their care.”

Shared governance is a way of assuring that nurses, those who provide care at the bedside, have a powerful role in making key decisions related to patient care. Shared governance has been associated with better professional, organizational, and patient outcomes, according to research studies.

According to Robert Hess, PhD, RN, FAAN, CEO, and founder of the Forum for Shared Governance, the model is difficult to achieve but highly desirable to nurses.

“Some hospitals put a structure in place in name only,” Hess said. “By using an extensive survey methodology, the Forum for Shared Governance determines whether a hospital has attained real shared governance. Southwestern Vermont Medical Center has.”

“We are deeply proud of the work of our Shared Governance Committee and each of our nurses,” Duchene said. “They have done the hard work of formalizing important decision-making processes, and that makes SVMC a better place for nurses to work and a better place for patients to receive their care.” 

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 and the effectiveness of its councils. Its instruments have been used by hundreds of hospitals around the globe for almost 30 years. It is the ONLY organization of its kind. For information, please e-mail info@sharedgovernance.org or visit http://www.sharedgovernance.org.

About SVHC:
Southwestern Vermont Health Care (SVHC) is a comprehensive, preeminent, health care system providing exceptional, convenient, and affordable care to the communities of Bennington and Windham Counties of Vermont, eastern Rensselaer and Washington Counties of New York, and northern Berkshire County in Massachusetts. SVHC includes Southwestern Vermont Medical Center (SVMC), Southwestern Vermont Regional Cancer Center, the Centers for Living and Rehabilitation, and the SVHC Foundation. SVMC includes 25 primary and specialty care practices.

Southwestern Vermont Health Care is among the most lauded small rural health systems in the nation. It is the recipient of the American Hospital Association’s 2020 Rural Hospital Leadership Award. In addition, SVMC ranked fourth nationwide for the value of care it provides by the Lown Institute Hospital Index in 2020 and is a five-time recipient of the American Nurses Credentialing Center’s Magnet® recognition for nursing excellence. It has also received the highest marks possible from the Leapfrog Group. The health system is fortunate to have the support of platinum-level corporate sponsor Mack, a leading supplier of contract manufacturing services and injection molded plastic parts based in Arlington, VT.

Southwestern Vermont Medical Center provides exceptional care without discriminating on the basis of an individual’s age, race, ethnicity, religion, culture, language, physical or mental disability, socioeconomic status, sex, sexual orientation, or gender identity or expression. Language assistance services, free of charge, are available at 1-800-367-9559. 

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