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Servant Leadership's Role in Healthcare

June 01, 20233 min read

I am always surprised how the healthcare industry is reactive rather than proactive.

For an industry that should be well versed in planning, as much as we promote annual screenings and annual competencies for employees, we really drop the ball in other areas. One such area is charge nurse training.

When one becomes a charge nurse, it is usually by default. Someone calls off and the torch is passed on to you. The incoming charge nurse takes on this role in an instant, typically with no training. If there is training, it is shadowing another charge nurse for a few hours.

This charge nurse is taught the logistics of the unit. They are not trained or taught the necessary tools to lead a group. The group being not only staff, but also the patients.

Leading has a trickle-down effect - a well-valued staff will generate better results overall in patient care. Over time, the charge nurse may shift into management or advance up the ladder into the role of director. If we are not teaching leadership skills during these entry level positions, it turns into the blind leading the blind and frustrations arise for everyone.

There are different styles of leadership that occur across the board. Servant leadership is one style that is not taught but generates the most effective results where everyone feels valuable - a place where everyone is winning. Why is this not taught, encouraged or promoted in healthcare?

Servant leadership is a style of leadership in which the leader puts the needs of the team or organization before their own, focusing on the development of those around them. This style of leadership emphasizes collaboration, communication and a willingness to serve the team.

Servant leadership can help create an environment in which everyone feels valued and respected. Individuals are empowered to make decisions and take ownership of their work. With this style of leadership, the leader is not focused on maintaining power, but rather on the development and empowering of the team to achieve success.

Servant leadership has become increasingly popular in the healthcare field in recent years. This style of leadership puts the team and the needs of the team first rather than leaders’ own desires. The staff leadership focuses on helping the team reach their goals by providing guidance and support, rather than providing orders and commands.

Servant leadership in healthcare is beneficial because it allows the team to work together to create a better environment with better patient care. The leader focuses on the needs of the patients and the staff rather than their own. The leader should be aware of staff needs and be willing to be flexible to meet those needs. Being mindful of the team and their needs is a way to provide support and guidance to the staff while mentoring the next employee that may assume the next leadership role. They must be open to feedback, good and bad, and be able to communicate with effective constructive criticism.

The leaders should also be prepared to listen to the opinions of others and take those opinions into consideration when making decisions. The leader should also be focused on providing quality care to the patients and their staff.

Servant leadership in healthcare is a great way to create a positive working environment and provide quality care to patients. This allows the team to work together to reach their goals and provide the leader with the opportunity to help them learn and grow. By focusing on the needs of the patients and the staff, you inadvertently create a strong bond between the leader, staff and patients.

healthcareleadershipservant leadershipnurse training
Heather Wilson is a former bedside nurse turned nurse entrepreneur. She is the owner of Everyday Divinity, and the Foot and Nail Institute.

Heather Wilson

Heather Wilson is a former bedside nurse turned nurse entrepreneur. She is the owner of Everyday Divinity, and the Foot and Nail Institute.

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