DQ: After reviewing the topic materials and conducting your own research on servant leadership, describe how the vocation of the nurse is similar to the goals of a servant leader

DQ After reviewing the topic materials and conducting your own research on servant leadership, describe how the vocation of the nurse is similar to the goals of a servant leader

NUR 514 Topic 2 Discussion 2

The fundamental principle of servant leadership is to gain trust and build a relationship with your followers (Whiteny, 2019). It can be broken down into ten parts which are listening, empathy, healing, awareness, persuasion, conceptualization, foresight, stewardess, commitment to the growth of people, and building community (Spears, 2021) Out of these qualities I chose listening and empathy in supporting interprofessional communication in providing patient care because I find these qualities to be the most important. The reason is that with listening you will better understand your team and also will thus lead to empathy and therefore give respect among the team. A positive work environment, it creates fewer mistakes, a helpful team and can lead to a better patient care experience for all.

What differentiates servant leadership from other styles of leadership is the primary focus on the follower first. Most styles of leadership direct their focus first on a mission and second on empowering followers to achieve that mission. Servant leadership directs its focus first on the ability of the individuals to succeed and then on the success of the mission. Servant leaders help their followers to grow and succeed, which in turn aids in accomplishing the organizational mission. The perception of a servant leader should be one of a courageous steward who holds people accountable for their own good. Servant leaders are those individuals who develop and empower others to reach their highest potential. This speaks directly to the individual potential of the followers rather than the organization. Servant leadership assumes that if the followers are maximizing their potential, it will directly translate to the potential of the organization and its overall performance. When servant leadership is applied correctly and with proper intentions, an authentic and natural form of reciprocity takes place between the leader and follower, which in turn increases workforce engagement and improves organizational performance (Gandolfi & Stone, 2018).

Servant leadership includes ten characteristics- listening, empathy, healing, awareness, persuasion, conceptualization, foresight, stewardship, commitment to growth of people, and building community (Gandolfi & Stone, 2018). Communication begins with listening. A servant leader hears what others are saying through both verbal and nonverbal communication and reflect upon what they hear to lead a group to its full potential. Having empathy or understanding and sharing the feelings of followers allow servant leaders to be placed in a position at the level of those followers. Servant leaders are further able to identify the characteristics hat make each individual unique and provide them with the ability to understand how best to support and lead their followers to achieve success in the mission, in this case how the staff nurses respond to their patients’ needs. While the leaders may not always accept the performance or actions of followers, the leader always accept each follower as an individual.

When the servant nurse leader displays a genuine interest in the team and further support through meeting the needs of the team, the quality of care increases within the organization (Thomas, 2018). Listening and empathy displayed by the servant nurse leader to their patients provides for interprofessional communication as the nurse will include the patient and family to identify the patient needs, make decisions regarding the patient’s care, solve problems together, and evaluate the planned treatment.

As a Nurse Manager, I employed servant leadership especially during the annual employee evaluation process. The employee evaluation process simply stated only evaluates if the individual is meeting the expectations of the organization. It lacks personal development features. I created a format that tasked each nurse to assess areas of strengths and opportunities. Then together we discussed strategies to develop those areas. For example, a nurse with two years of experience felt she was not ‘experienced’ enough to consider growth in the department when viewed alongside nurses with more years of experience. A goal we set together was to attend a preceptor course to then begin first mentoring nursing students and later to precept new hire nurses to the department.

A servant leader is a skilled communicator, a compassionate collaborator, a system thinker, and someone who leads with moral authority. Nursing practice and the vocation of nursing lends itself to the servant leadership model through its dedication of service.


Gandolfi, F., Stone, S. (2018). Leadership, Leadership Styles, and Servant Leadership. Journal of Management Research (09725814), 18(4), 261-269. Retrieved from

Thomas, J.S. (2018). Applying servant leadership in practice. Nursing Leadership and Management: Leading and Serving. 1, Ch. 3. Retrieved from

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The servant leader in nursing is genuinely compassionate and caring towards employees. This type of leader is inclusive and engaging without being coercive toward personnel (Sherman, 2019). The leader shares governance and responsibilities for the unit and organization. The leader seeks to support staff through empowerment and inspiration. The servant-leader assists employees to resolve problems and supports their professional development. According to Sherman (2019), there are characteristics associated with servant leadership including “listening, empathy, healing, awareness, persuasion, conceptualization, foresight, stewardship, commitment to the growth of people, and building community” (para. 4). These are all qualities that show caring and consideration to others. Many bedside nurses perform exceptionally for their patients utilizing many of these elements up to and including going up the chain of command to advocate for their patients. In nursing, this is a component of the definition of our work. We are tasked within our capacity to assist our patients in achieving healthful outcomes in a caring and empathetic manner that places each patient at the forefront of all care. We utilize limited resources to maximize our performance for the benefit of our patients. Nurses think ahead and foresee potential dangers to our patients. We are persuasive when necessary to attain the help our patients may need. We are interested in the growth and development of our patients through the hospitalization event and onward. We partner with the patient and others to deliver exceptional care. These qualities are utilized for patients who experience an early postoperative complication but are true for the care delivered to all patients.


Sherman, R. (2019). The case for servant leadership. Nurse Leader17(2), 86–87.



“Who am I serving?”, the most important question asked in both nursing and servant leadership (Munro & Savel, 2017). Nursing is a profession where we are dedicating ourselves to others and prioritize the needs of our community. First and foremost, the nurse is here to serve the patient (Munro & Savel, 2017). Additionally, the nurse serves as a team member who shares a mutual goal of patient-centered care. Often, we find ourselves serving those we work with as well, whether it is answering a call light, helping a nurse with a turn, or going the extra mile to make a family happy.

The primary intention of servant leadership is that the leader is a servant first, assuring that others’ highest priority needs are met (Munro & Savel, 2017). The emphasis of this approach is to nurture and nourish others so they can be the best that they possibly can (Munro & Savel, 2017). Another important idea in servant leadership is the “why?”. This answer may be obvious and straightforward; nurses enter this profession to help others to some extent, and we mustn’t lose sight of that meaning. Nurses facing burnout and compassion fatigue may have served others too frequently without first serving themselves. You can not pour from your own cup if it is empty. It’s also easy to forget the “why?” when facing these feelings.

Burnout is a feeling I’ve encountered and have unfortunately seen a lot of due to the pandemic. I am a school nurse but was recently assisting our district’s COVID resource team. I frequently contacted families in my school district to initiate quarantines and isolations due to positive COVID cases. It seemed as though all I was doing was delivering bad news to families and schools. It was easy to get caught up in the negativity rather than realize that I’m still helping others stay safe and providing resources to do so. It was not how I pictured I would be helping my students and remembering my “why?” is what allowed me to continue serving my community.

Another critical component of servant leadership is humility. A true servant leader is modest, gives recognition where it is due, and creates an environment that others can contribute to. A servant leader recognizes that they are not the only one that has brings something to the table, and facilitates a supportive environment for collaboration.


Savel, R. H., & Munro, C. L. (2017). Servant leadership: The primacy of service. American Journal of Critical Care, 26(2), 97–99.


The field of health care is made up of humans collaborating together; therefore, conflict is going to come about from every party involved at some point. Conflict within healthcare organizations can occur between nurses and other nurses, nurses and doctors, providers and families, and administration and the board. Conflict can occur from two entities having differences in personality, ideas, or perceptions. Typically, conflict starts at a very basic level where there is a lack of understanding why another is performing a particular action, but it can then escalate based on the respect and tools both parties have and utilize when discussing the situation.

As a nursing leader, it is important to understand conflict, ways you handle conflict, and common ways others handle conflict because with this information, you are more likely to deescalate situations and bring understanding to them. “The leader who recognizes the complex nature of conflict as well as its individual, interpersonal, and organizational factors can help build stronger relationships and interactions among individuals and teams” (Weberg et al., 2019). When conflict occurs, nursing leaders are able to redirect it into positive conflict by creating a positive space. This positive space allows for those involved to voice their feelings and concerns without interruption. With everyone being heard, mutual understanding can happen, or respectful negotiation can begin with the appropriate person, such as a unit manager.

During conflict, one leadership theory that I think works well when dealing with conflict is the transformational leadership theory. Leaders who practice this theory encourage teamwork, instill trust and help others build confidence (Aspen University, 2021). With a team environment, I think allows for members of the team to feel more comfortable voicing their opinions and a transformational leader advocates for an open and respectful space for everyone on the team to be heard. A transformational leader also knows that some conflicts may cause turbulence and may need to involve a unique approach to reach a solution.


Aspen University. (2021). 7 leadership styles in nursing: how do they impact you? Aspen University. Retrieved from


Weberg, Mangold, Porter-O’Grady, & Malloch. (2019). Leadership in Nursing Practice: Changing the Landscape of Health Care: Changing the Landscape of Health Care (3rd ed.). Jones & Bartlett Learning.

Servant leadership is a strong skill set that leaders utilize and find influential in delivering teamwork in nursing practice. This type of leadership promotes an improved healthcare delivery approach based on the collaboration of interdisciplinary teamwork, shared decision-making, and professional, ethical behaviors of each member. It also encourages professional growth for nurses (Neill et al., 2008). I see myself as more of a servant leader. Back then, I was a night unit supervisor, I am more of a servant to my colleagues. I worked on the floor, answering call lights, giving meds, and taking patients to the toilet. I felt the burden of my nurses and CNAs, and I empathized with them, so I ended up taking on some of their duties. My role depended on what was needed in the unit. If our team needed a CNA, I helped the CNAs. If a nurse is behind with her meds, I help pass her meds. It helped immensely with increased responsiveness to the call lights, thus improving our HCAPS score. Servant leadership is an effective leadership style as it develops so much trust and integrity as a leader that your colleagues will follow you.



Neill, M. W., & Saunders, N. S. (2008, September). Servant leadership: Enhancing quality of care and staff… : Jona: The Journal of Nursing Administration. LWW. Retrieved November 28, 2022, from