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Nurse leaders play an instrumental role in guiding nursing units toward common goals. As the healthcare industry evolves and requires changes to the delivery of patient care, it becomes even more vital to have experienced nursing leadership in place.

Nurses in an online RN to BSN degree program take leadership coursework to identify and develop their own skills. Though most leaders share certain characteristics, nurses in a Christian leadership position are called on to exhibit qualities that go beyond the norm.

What Exactly Is Christian Leadership?

One promising form of Christian leadership is called servant leadership. According to the Robert E. Greenleaf Center for Servant Leadership, this leadership style is “a philosophy and set of practices that enriches the lives of individuals, builds better organizations and ultimately creates a more just and caring world.”

Even though the philosophy was first introduced in the 1970s, it is an idea that has slowly grown in popularity among organizations today, including many faith-based healthcare organizations.

The basic premise of servant leadership lies in the following:

  • First and foremost, the individual makes a choice to serve the needs of others in some capacity.
  • The individual is drawn to leadership opportunities or positions because of this desire.

Ultimately, the individual chooses to assume a leadership position in order to contribute to the well-being of others and the organizations for which they work, and not specifically for any personal or professional gains.

What Are the Characteristics of Christian Nurse Leaders?

Christian nurse leaders demonstrate a wide range of characteristics and personality traits, including the following:

Upstanding character. The answer to “What do you do when no one is looking?” best sums up a person’s character. This same metric applies to Christian nurse leaders. Those of upright character have a well-defined code of ethical and moral parameters that guides their behavior and interactions with others. They are extremely humble and always strive to choose the right path even when it is difficult.

Unwavering commitment and self-discipline. In embodying the servant role, Christian nurse leaders show an unwavering commitment to their profession. They strive to always put the needs of others, including patients and the goals of the healthcare organization, before their own. Similarly, they are highly self-disciplined, not only in daily job duties, but also in the words they use when communicating and in their demeanor when engaging with others.

Courage in all circumstances. Not everyone is capable of courage in the face of adversity. However, Christian nurse leaders tap into spiritual courage to cope with extreme stress or uncertainty. This not only helps them navigate difficult situations but also provides comfort and relief to patients and their families.

Unconditional love and acceptance. A nurse leader with Christian values shows unconditional love and acceptance, regardless of the circumstances. They understand that these emotions need to be expressed in different ways depending on the situation — ranging from gentleness to a more direct “tough love” approach. Another viewpoint is to fully accept others exactly as they are.

Truth-telling. Christian nurse leaders understand that telling the truth, even when it is painful or uncomfortable, is the path to follow. They place a high value on being transparent in their motives and actions and encourage others to do the same. These leaders are honest in identifying nurses’ strengths and weaknesses. In doing so, they ensure that they have placed nurses in positions that complement personalities and skill sets, which benefits the entire care team and patients alike.

How Is Christian Leadership a Good Model for Nurse Leaders?

Adopting Christian leadership traits helps nurse leaders evolve in their roles as a nurse, leader and person. Shifting toward a servant outlook fosters a mindset of selfless service to patients.

Nurse leaders who embrace the above attributes inspire other nurses as well. By modeling Christian behavior, these leaders demonstrate success in a professional setting while also honoring their deep desire to serve others.

Drawn to Leadership

Nurses are drawn to leadership roles for a variety of reasons. However, nurses who feel called to serve find that following a Christian leadership model suits them well. By practicing the traits above, nurse leaders can inspire their team and patients as well as become role models for other nurses.

Learn more about the Mississippi College online RN to BSN program.


American Journal of Critical Care: Servant Leadership: The Primacy of Service

Robert E. Greenleaf Center for Servant Leadership: What Is Servant Leadership?

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