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Running head: SERVANT LEADERSHIP

Servant Leadership
Katherine Sheppard
Bon Secours Memorial College of Nursing
NUR 4241

Honor Code:
On our honor, I have neither given nor received aid on this assignment or test, and I pledge that
I am in compliance with the BSMCON Honor System.

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Servant Leadership

The leader that I have chosen for this assignment is the clinical care coordinator of the
perioperative services. Cathy Cupp is a registered nurse (RN) who has practiced in many roles as
a leader including: charge nurse, preceptor, and the chair of peer review committee. I have
chosen to meet with her February 23, 2016 and have prepared many questions. Some of the
questions that I plan to ask include: How do you feel your leadership has impacted your care?
What do you find as your strengths/weakness when leading a unit of many different nurses? How
do you handle conflict? Tell me about some conflicting times and how you have dealt with them?
I have chosen many of these questions from reading from our text, Servant Leadership in
Nursing by Mary Elizabeth OBrien. I consider Cathy to be a great team leader. The text
describes an effective team leader role is to make sure all members of the team are functioning
to their greatest potential to achieve the goal of the team, which is excellent patient care
(O'Brien, 2011). I would ask Cathy questions during my interview about how she ensures
members to function at their potential and are there any challenges?
Another source that I found helpful when preparing my questions for the interview was
the PowerPoint, Comparing Servant Leadership with Other Leadership Principles and Theories. I
would ask my selected leader to describe herself as a leader including her characteristics. Some
characteristics that Kathy Buckley describes as a servant leader include: listening, empathy,
healing, awareness, stewardship, and many others (Buckley, 2015). In this paper, we will show
many ways that Cathy portrays attributes of a servant leader and how they compare to the
literature on servant leadership.
Introduction

SERVANT LEADERSHIP

What comes to mind when you think of a servant leader? This is the very question that I
have asked myself when beginning this assignment. I thought of someone who has many
characteristics of a servant leader. I chose this leader because she is one who has stood out as a
servant leader in many ways.
In the literature, OBrien discusses many nursing servant leader behavior themes
describing the nurses spiritual call to care for the sick and how that person cares for their
patients. A person that portrays themes listed by OBrien include listening with the heart, giving
yourself, ministry work, advocate, and a person who assesses needs (O'Brien, 2011). These
characteristics and behaviors reminded me of a nurse whom I work with that serves many roles.
The roles that she currently serves include clinical care coordinator, charge nurse, and preceptor.
I chose her because she was willing to share her strengths and weaknesses as a leader. In this
interview I was able to find out a lot about Cathy and how she handles being a leader. I asked
my leader, Cathy Cupp, what she thought were her characteristics as a leader. She replied
diplomacy, willingness to listen, and resourceful (Cupp, 2015).
Empathy is one of the characteristics that Buckley describes in her PowerPoint on
Servant Leadership. Cathy is empathetic to her patients and coworkers. Gallop describes
empathy as a sense of feelings of other people by imagining themselves in others lives or
situations (Rath & Conchie, 2008). Empathy, along with many other great attributes is how
Cathy is a great example of a servant leader.
Cathy serves many great characteristics that make her a fantastic leader. She has many
people who think of her as resourceful and is knowledgeable in her area of expertise. These

SERVANT LEADERSHIP

reasons alone are why many have chosen for her to precept and be a charge nurse leader to help
her peers and oncoming coworkers when starting a challenging career.
Interview
The interview took place in a private area where we were able to share stories and
questions with one another to find out more on how Cathy demonstrates many qualities of a
servant leader. Some questions that I have already mentioned that I included in the interview
were how do you feel your leadership has impacted your care? Her reply was I think it makes
me better, it has made more aware of key roles that my coworkers play in providing excellent
care to our patients (Cupp, 2015). A characteristic of servant leadership described by Dirk van
Dierendonck includes team effectiveness (Dierendonck, 2011); Cathy helps to provide staff
schedules and ensures that the team is running smoothly each day. She helps to prepare team
meetings to find out what is going on with each department to help fulfill needs of the unit.
Another question that I asked was What do you find as your strengths/weakness when
leading a unit of many different nurses? Cathy was eager to discuss some strengths she has as a
leader. She stated, As a leader my strength is my diplomacy and the ability to try to see things
from a wide perspective (Cupp, 2015). This is demonstrated with every encounter that arises in
the surgical pavilion. Cathy is a great nurse who uses critical thinking skills to understand each
situation. She uses her critical thinking skills to collaborate with other members of the healthcare
team in order to care for patients, families, and staff.
How do you handle conflict? Tell me about some conflicting times and how you have
dealt with them? These questions always seem to be the hardest questions to answer in an
interview. Cathy answered with confidence, Conflict requires active listening. I try to focus on

SERVANT LEADERSHIP
the behavior of the people involved and what happened. I try very hard not to let my personal
opinions get in the way and work to stay objective and non-biased (Cupp, 2015). Cathy
describes how she handles conflict at work by gathering the involved parties to find the root of
the problem. She discusses with staff members on ways to improve the situation. She discussed
how in her current area of expertise a conflicting area where there are different personalities and
styles of leadership within one department. She uses her skills as a servant leader by adapting to
each of the personalities and helping others understand better ways to care for one another.
Another weakness that Cathy describes is her fear of public speaking. Now, in order for
many nurses to enhance their careers at Mary Immaculate nurses must be able to speak with one
another. Cathy has overcome this obstacle while working with the nurses in meetings.
In the review by Dirk Van Dierendonck (2011), servant leadership is defined by
Greenleaf as leaders who those who aim to serve. In the interview one question that was asked
was how Cathy feels she aims to serve Cathy serves many areas in her role as a leader. She
helps her coworkers to pursue areas of weakness. She serves as a mentor in her area and
encourages her coworkers to continue education. She has helped many nurses with professional
portfolios in order to enhance their careers with pay and advancement on the nursing clinical
ladder. She has encouraged coworkers to go the extra mile and help with charity events in the
area and stays up to date with ways to help in the community. Although each of these areas help
the nurse to advance, Cathy knows that with education and commitment to help the community
each nurse is able to care better for their patients.
Concluding the interview, I asked Cathy about how are some ways she collaborates with
her team members to better serve the patients and staff. Cathy collaborates with other members

SERVANT LEADERSHIP

of the healthcare team in order to give the patients at Mary Immaculate Hospital the best care
possible. As a charge nurse, Cathy collaborates with other nurses from different areas within the
department on the stages of the patients care. She teaches those that she precepts the importance
of communication within the department to ensure that the patients care is not compromised. For
example, Cathy currently works with the post anesthesia care unit (PACU) where she shares
information with the accepting nurse which is generally on admission or discharge of a patient.
Another example of how Cathy collaborates with members of the healthcare team is when she
discusses what works or doesnt work in relation to the patients post-operative pain
management. Cathy discussed how one surgeon would use techniques, such as Exparel on
patients with post-operative knee surgery and how well it works for the patient. She has shared
these experiences with other surgeons whom have taken these suggestions in improving patients
experiences with pain.
Impact on Patient Care
Cathy works with her team in order to provide excellent care for the patients and families.
Patients and their families are the reason that we are able to provide care in a clinical setting.
Cathy has discussed how a current issue that the surgical team has presented over the last few
weeks is an increase in acuity of patients. Recently a new operating room (OR) has been built
and with that an increase in many different types of surgeries. By adding a new OR, Mary
Immaculate has increased the amount of surgeries to include vascular surgeries. Vascular
surgeries is not something that is very common with the knowledge of the current staff. Cathy
has helped by listening to her peers and gathered materials and educational resources to help
resolve the conflict everyone felt. A result of this conflict resolution helped to prepare the nurses
on ways to care for their patients with the knowledge based information on vascular surgeries.

SERVANT LEADERSHIP

Other areas of patient care that Cathy has had an impact on include the patients
post-operative pain management. Already mentioned in the interview, Cathy has helped to
educate surgeons and anesthesiologists on what works and what doesnt work in her experience
working within the PACU. Cathy communicates with her team members in order to figure out
how their patients respond to different techniques as well.

Summary
After the interview was completed, I realized how much more Cathy has portrayed many
attributes of a servant leader. According to OBrien one theme of a servant leader is listening.
Cathy discusses how she listens to her peers in situations that arise. I found this interview to
prove how the leaders perspectives compare with literature on servant leadership. I have
discussed examples throughout the interview process of how each of Cathys answers correlate
with literature. Cathys ability to listen to her patients and staff is just one of the characteristics
discussed.
By reading the literature on servant leadership, I have learned that there is a lot to go with
being a servant leader that contain many key behaviors and characteristics. Serving others and
going above and beyond the calling is what makes one stand out. OBrien lists nine behavior
themes: listening with the heart, giving yourself, doing ministry, assessing needs, becoming an
advocate, discerning a decision, making a difference, being there to serve and embracing a higher
purpose (O'Brien, 2011). While interviewing I noticed how Cathy makes a difference in each of
these categories. Nurses alone, have many of these behaviors that is what makes us so special.
Patients lives are touched everyday with the care we provide them.

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References

Buckley, K. (2015). Comparing Servant Leadership wth Other Leadership Principles


and Theories. Retrieved from Comparing Servant Leadership with Other
Leadership Principles and Attributes NUR4241.pptx
Cupp, C. (2015). RN. (K. Sheppard, Interviewer)
Dierendonck, D. v. (2011). Servant Leadership: A Review and Synthesis. Journal of
Management, 1228-1254. Retrieved from
https://bsmcon.blackboard.com/bbcswebdav/pid-109187-dt-content-rid604066_1/courses/NUR4241-201516-SP-O1/NUR4241-201516FA_ImportedContent_20150727024303/Servant%20Leadership%20article
%20Van%20Dierendonck.pdf
O'Brien, M. (2011). Servant Leadership in Nursing: Spirituality and Practice in
Contemporary Health Care. Jones and Bartlett.
Rath, T., & Conchie, B. (2008). Strengths Based Leadership. New York: Gallop Press.