Servant leadership is a leadership approach that focuses on serving others and meeting their needs, rather than exerting power and authority over them (Greenleaf, 1977). In the profession of nursing, serving others is inherent to the role and can be expressed through various actions and behaviors.
One way to serve others in nursing is by practicing empathy. Empathy is the ability to understand and share the feelings and emotions of others (Decety & Cowell, 2014). As a nurse, it is crucial to recognize and understand the emotions and experiences of patients and their families. By demonstrating empathy, nurses can provide the necessary emotional support and create a compassionate and caring environment.
Furthermore, serving others in nursing involves knowing and understanding the individual needs and preferences of patients. Every patient is unique, and their care should be tailored to their specific circumstances. By taking the time to get to know patients on a personal level, nurses can provide care that is aligned with their values, beliefs, and preferences.
In addition to serving patients, nurses also serve their colleagues and the members of their healthcare team. Collaboration and teamwork are essential in healthcare settings, and nurses play a crucial role in fostering effective teamwork and communication. By being supportive, respectful, and open-minded, nurses can create a positive work environment that promotes collaboration and enhances patient outcomes.
The servant-leadership paradigm aligns closely with the notion of serving others in the nursing profession. According to Robert Greenleaf (1977), a servant leader is someone who prioritizes the needs of others and helps them develop and perform at their best. In nursing, this can be exemplified by nurse leaders who advocate for their team members, empower them to make decisions, and provide the necessary resources and support for their professional growth.
By adopting the principles of servant leadership in nursing, the way one serves others can become more closely aligned with this paradigm. This can be achieved by actively listening to others, seeking their input, and involving them in the decision-making process. Nurse leaders can also promote a culture of trust, transparency, and collaboration, where the needs and contributions of everyone are valued and respected (McMillan, 2017).
The issue of serving as explained by the servant-leadership paradigm differs from the secular view of power. In the secular view of power, individuals in positions of authority tend to use their power to rule over others and exert control. The goal is often to accumulate power for oneself, rather than serving the needs and well-being of others (Brown, 2016).
On the other hand, servant leadership emphasizes the idea of serving others and putting their needs above one’s own. Servant leaders understand that true leadership is not about dominating others, but rather about empowering them and enabling them to reach their full potential (Lindsey, 2019). This perspective challenges traditional notions of power and encourages leaders to lead with humility, empathy, and a genuine desire to serve others.
In conclusion, serving others in the nursing profession is accomplished through actions such as demonstrating empathy, tailoring care to individual patient needs, promoting teamwork and collaboration, and advocating for the professional growth of colleagues. By embracing the principles of servant leadership, nurses can align their approach to serving others with this paradigm, which prioritizes meeting the needs of others over exerting power and authority. This paradigm shift challenges the secular view of power and emphasizes the importance of serving and empowering others in leadership roles.