The belief that God can use all of us, no matter our weaknesses and challenges, is central to the nurses’ profession. It is within this mantra that practice occurs. This essay will discuss how faith has influenced my work place and professional life as a nurse in the Baptist denomination. It will explore my understanding of power in a noble profession, authority employed and model leadership supported.

As a nurse manager of a local cardiac rehabilitation center, I have assumed and exercised my authority as an RN as well as a person. The foundation of this power is built upon years of experience, education, the function which I hold at my work place, and the environment in which I work. In the past several months, however, it has become an issue for me to apply servant leadership because I have needed to shift from being the “strong” leader into one who can serve more people in a more effective and quicker manner. The amount of time allotted to accomplish such goals as patient/staff ratio, assignment of duties/scheduled appointments, documentation/reporting regulations, and follow-up with compliance protocol are all mandated by our organizational structure under Medicare guidelines.

One of the most surreal things that I have witnessed in my life is the moment when I was placed in a position of authority. As an “entrusted servant”, I had no idea what I was doing. What caused it? Who am I as a person? Where did this “authority” come from? Those questions continue to remain unanswered for myself. While I recognize the importance of authority within the nursing profession, I am still exploring how it fits into my personal beliefs and faith.

As a Registered Nurse, I have always strived to do my utmost to uphold the principles of servant leadership as provided by James M. Kouzes and Barry Z. Posner “Seven Practices of Exemplary leaders.” I have always strived to lead by serving others, in that way my work environment runs more efficiently and smoothly.

The nursing profession is an authority-based career. Nurses are given the duty and responsibility to carry out tasks that involve great power. The nurse has flexibility as to when she or he needs to exercise this duty and responsibility. With a doctor’s orders, the nurse checks for things that may be symptoms of a patient’s condition or illness. The nurse must also be prepared for any type of strange behavior from patients and keep their own hands clean at all times because prevention is always better than a cure, which is in line with the servant leadership model.

I have experience working as a nurse at Lutheran General Hospital in Illinois as well as in Bridgeview, Illinois. As a professional nurse I use a variety of leadership techniques to motivate my patients and their families for which I receive positive feedback.

Nurses need to be compassionate and emotionally available. In the workplace, they have certain authority to make changes, enforce policies, and set new regulations. An area of my job that involves exercising my authority is triaging patients. Many people have the misconception that once a patient comes into the hospital, everything is done for them. Although many nurses find it difficult at times, I enjoy triaging patients when I see that they are not getting adequate treatment from the doctor/medical personnel outside of the hospital. It is a constant debate with me of when I should become involved in a potential crisis situation and how long I should stay involved in it after letting everyone else know of my involvement

Our team of nurse’s aides were calling on me to fix meals in a group home. I asked how they were preparing the meals and they showed me their system of making up the evening meal. It was not very appetizing. They had one dish that was a mixture of butter, vinegar and ketchup heated to boiling and poured over a mass volume of vegetables. I told them, “That is not going to be eaten. We are going to have a hot lunch tomorrow at noon and we need to take a good lunch break.”

Servant leadership theory emphasizes that leaders must be servant-first and not be self-seeking. According to Hersey and Blanchard, leadership features that reflect this servant mindset include balanced action, which is a style of authentic ethical model for business today. Social ethics are values that accompany every decision one makes. A servant leader acts with genuine concern for others and the welfare of the organization.


What is your given “authority” at your work place and/or professional life? Describe a time when you have exercised this authority in your journey as a professional nurse? How does your response compare to the secular view of power? How-does your response compare to the secular view of authority? How does your response compare to the view of power according to servant leadership? How does your response compare to the view of authority according to servant leadership?

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