Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Place of Servant Leadership in Hospitals

A religious sister, president of the Catholic Nurses League, writing for the Catholic Times, asks how many people go through life without having spent time in a hospital? We are all pilgrims with wounds, she says. And workers in hospitals, especially, should consider themselves like the innkeeper of the gospel, who took in the one who was beaten and brought to the inn by the Samaritan.

 All persons working in hospitals have a sublime vocation, but managing hospitals in today's world according to ethical values is becoming more difficult. And the effort to have a more welcoming atmosphere in hospitals and to live up to the expectations of patients is an ongoing task.

The sister introduces us to James C. Hunter, who said," Whether an organization is doing well or not depends primarily on the persons in charge. Everything begins from above; there are no weak regiments, only weak leaders." Hunter also said that over  a third of the  most respected Fortune 100 companies are run with the servant leadership idea.

This concept is more popular in business situations, strange as it may sound, than in   religious contexts. Some meanings of the concept, found on the internet, refer to a leader who is primarily a servant, who listens to the people he's leading and contributes to their well-being. A servant leader is focused on how best to satisfy the needs of the people in his organization, and is constantly looking to solve problems and promote personal development, knowing that happy and motivated people are better able to reach their goals.
Medical treatment and management are one, says the sister. Medical facilities need to have a respect for life and a way of management that acknowledges this fact, which requires that leaders have a consciousness of a need to manage themselves. Without the correct atmosphere, there is a limit to  the development of the latent powers and creativity that exist within any group endeavor. When the  hospital personnel are  less than satisfied with the status quo,  this leads to  less than optimum medical services, and ultimately affecting how personnel relate to those visiting the patients in the hospital. 
Jesus has given us an example of servant leadership. "Let the greater among you be as the junior, the leader as the servant (Luke 22:26).  The sister stresses that this kind of leadership should be a part of the management of all hospitals.  We cannot  heal the wounds humans have, she says, with only technical means and specialized knowledge. Proper management of a hospital depends on a proper respect for life. It should be the guidepost for hospital personnel as they go about their daily tasks helping patients regain their health.

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