article .pdf Journal.docx NU499_JournalGradingRubric.docA Caring Leadership Model for Nursing’s
Randy L. Williams, II, RN, MSN, MBA
Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center
Watson Caring Science Institute
Judy B. McDowell, RN, MSN, CCRN
Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center
Donald D. Kautz, RN, PhD, CNE
University of North Carolina at Greensboro
This article describes the McDowell-Williams Caring Leadership Model that brings together the caring theory of Watson (2008) and the leadership theory of Kouzes and
Posner (2007). This model provides institutional guidance for continuing the effective
shared governance by the nurses at Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center
(WFUBMC), as well as strategies for leaders to use with staff as they make their workplace the best place to work and the best place to receive care.
Key Words: Caring theory, Watson’s caring
theory, leadership theory, Caring
Leadership Model
Hinshaw (2008) argued that the nursing
profession is attempting to navigate the perfect storm as nurses strive “to build cultures
of safety for patients and families while simultaneously handling an epic crisis in
workforce issues” (p. S4), including a shortage of nurses, nursing faculty, and nurse
leaders. Nurses have become technically
and scientifically competent and specialized
in our individual fields, but many of us have
lost a sense of meaning in our work. Our
days are busy with high tech equipment and
an enormous list of tasks that must be completed. Our work is often cost restricted and
quality challenged.
We use the term caring like a buzzword—the soft-stuff that we would do if we
had the time. But we seem to spend a lot
more time in caring for our computers,
monitors, intravenous pumps, etc., than we
do in caring for patients and families. Too
many nurses are mentally and physically
exhausted and have difficulty caring for
themselves and for each other, let alone
their patients. The nursing shortage has left
a shortage of nurse managers, who are not
grooming staff nurses to take on the leadership role when manager turnover occurs
(Wendler, Olson-Sitki, & Prater, 2009). We
believe teaching and role modeling the principles of caring, blended with the principles
of leadership, can change the culture of an
Wake Forest University Baptist Medical
Center (WFUBMC) is a large academic
medical center with 872 licensed beds in the
southeastern United States. It was the first
Magnet-designated hospital in the
Carolinas. Lexington Memorial is a community-based WFUBMC hospital with 94
licensed acute care beds.
We believe that the core of the workforce
issue is a loss of trust and confidence in
both leaders and our organizations.
Recognizing the problem, nurses have implemented the McDowell-Williams Caring
Leadership Model at WFUBMC. Two of the
authors, (McDowell and Williams) developed and implemented the Caring
Leadership Model at WFUBMC in conjunction with their work with the Watson Caring
Science Institute. The leadership model has
been implemented in both hospitals with
nurse leaders from over 50 patient care
areas. The leaders represent diversity in ethnic backgrounds, age, gender, education,
and years of experience. The McDowellWilliams Caring Leadership Model brings
together the caring theory of Watson (2008)
and the leadership theory of Kouzes and
Posner (2007).
Watson’s (2008) theory of human caring
focuses on preserving humanity and human
dignity and gives the practitioner a solid
foundation upon which to carry out their
work. Her theory may seem complex and
difficult to understand, but once the light
comes on, the depth of understanding grows
exponentially. The theory grows inside each
one of us and our practice changes direction, shedding light all around us. Watson’s
(2008) work was organized around 10 carative factors that provided a format and focus
for nursing. Over the last few decades, her
theory has evolved into a philosophy with
10 enhanced Caritas Processes that address
the essence of caring. The word caritas
comes from the Latin word meaning to
cherish, to appreciate, and to give special
attention. Caritas shows maturity and an integration of our past with our present and
future, moving our work to transforming
self and those we serve, including our institutions and our profession itself. Table 1 includes the brief descriptions that we have
provided staff at WFUBMC to assist them
to implement the 10 Caritas Processes in
2011, Vol. 15, No. 1
A Caring Leadership Model
Table 1
WFUBMC’s Conceptualization of Watson’s 10 Caritas Processes
Practice of loving-kindness and equanimity within the context of caring consciousness. Take a breath and ask, “Why am I here?”
Pause in chaos, go back to your core values and repattern yourself.
Being authentically present and sustaining the deep belief system and subjective life world of self and one-being-cared for. Be
present in the moment. Be mindful of what you are doing and do it with the intention to care. Your very presence may be the
difference between hope and despair.
Cultivation of one’s own spiritual practices and transpersonal self, going beyond the ego self. Become more self-aware. Honor
and offer loving-kindness to self; even those aspects we fear or dislike. Commitment to caring-healing requires focusing on our
personal/professional growth.
Developing and sustaining a helping-trusting, authentic caring relationship. Building caring relationships requires deepening our
humanity; being compassionate, aware, and awake to others’ dilemmas.
Being present to and supportive of the expression of positive and negative feelings as a connection with deeper spirit of self and
the one-being cared for. Choose how to be in relationships and encounters with others. We have a responsibility to transform
patterns of toxicity in our organization.
Creative use of self and all ways of knowing as part of the caring process, to engage in the artistry of caring-healing practices.
Caring involves all ways of knowing, including understanding, insight, reflection, and wisdom.
Engage in genuine teaching-learning experiences that attend to unity of being and meaning attempting to stay within other’s
frame of reference. Learning involves a meaningful and trusting relationship, honoring the whole person.
Creating healing environment at all levels, physical as well as non-physical, subtle environment of energy and consciousness,
whereby wholeness, beauty, comfort, dignity, and peace are potentiated.
Assisting with basic needs, with an intentional caring consciousness, administering “human care essentials,” which potentiate
alignment of mind-body-spirit, wholeness, and unity of being in all aspects of care. When touching another body, we are also
touching the mind, the heart, and the soul. Meeting the basic needs of the body is a sacred act.
Opening and attending to spiritual, mysterious, and existential dimensions of one’s own life and death; soul care for self and
one-being-cared for. Be open to mysteries. Recognize we do not have all the answers. Allow for miracles.
their daily practice.
A core principle of Watson’s (2008) theory is that nurses have a moral commitment
to form transpersonal relationships with
others. Nurses “seek to recognize, honor,
and accurately detect the spirit of the other
through genuine presencing, being centered, available in the now-moment”
(Watson, 2008, p. 81). Healing and caring
occur in caring moments shared between
two people when the nurse connects at a
spirit-to-spirit level with another. It is in that
moment that both lives are forever altered.
The practical application of this theory is
our institution’s model of care. This is a
model of care based on three primary
tenets: care of the patient/family, care of the
team, and care of the self. Implementation
of the model entails unit development of behavioral expectations that embody what the
model looks like on the particular unit. The
foundation for the implementation of our
model is a robust shared governance structure, which empowers every direct care
nurse to have a voice in decisions that affect
their practice and the expectations of how
that practice will be carried out.
Our hospital’s shared governance
International Journal for Human Caring
(McDowell et al., 2010) is the vehicle for
implementing a model of care that focuses
on the essence of nursing: caring. Within
the shared governance structure every nurse
in the organization belongs to a unit-based
council. These councils establish expectations for how the three tenets of our institution’s caring relationship-based model will
be actualized in a way that is appropriate for
the population being cared for.
Shared governance leaders have extraordinary responsibility, authority, and accountability and, therefore, must have
education and experience with leadership
A Caring Leadership Model
skills and must be mentored to develop and
enhance those skills. The leadership theory
of Kouzes and Posner (2007) is being used
to guide this process. This theory evolved
from a survey, The Leadership Practices
Inventory, which was given to over 75,000
people over a 20-year period. The data acquired led to a list of common characteristics of leaders functioning at their personal
best. From this base, Kouzes and Posner
(2007) developed the “Five Practices of
Exemplary Leadership.” Their work is
based on the belief that leadership is, above
all, a relationship that is values based with a
foundation of credibility. They emphasized
that credibility and trust are the connectors
of the utmost importance in stabilizing relationships. Their concept of leadership is
also intentional: leading is a choice.
Mastery of leadership requires mastery of
the skills central to developing and maintaining positive relationships with others. A
brief description of how we have implemented Kouzes and Posner’s (2007) five
practices at WFUBMC is presented in
Table 2. Leaders must be taught the skills
that will enable them to listen, to communicate, to resolve conflicts, to negotiate, to influence, to build teams, and to strengthen
the capacity of others to excel.
Leadership matters and it matters more in
times of uncertainty than in times of stability. Since leadership matters more in times
of uncertainty, then leadership development
matters more now than ever.
We have integrated Watson’s (2008) caring theory and Kouzes and Posner’s (2007)
leadership theory by integrating the Five
Practices of Exemplary Leadership with the
10 Caritas Processes as is illustrated in
Table 3. These theories complement each
other and can provide an effective basis for
Blending these theories led to the
McDowell-Williams Caring Leadership
Model, which suggest that leaders must
adopt the following core values:
• Always lead with kindness, compassion, and equality.
• Generate hope and faith through cocreation.
• Actively innovate with insight, reflection, and wisdom.
• Purposely create protected space
founded upon mutual respect and caring.
• Embody an environment of caringhelping-trusting for self and others.
Each of these core values is illustrated by
comments from nurse leaders in our organization:
• Always lead with kindness, compas-
sion, and equality.
I have two registered nurses in my department who desire to cut back on
their work hours. These employees are
long-time, seasoned nurses. I sat down
with both of these employees and allowed them to discuss their concerns
and wishes. We are in a trial period
with their schedules.
• Generate hope and faith through cocreation.
I am getting ready to complete my
masters and my endurance and survival in the program is due to a col
league who is able to see my gifts and
is willing to help me stay focused so I
can accomplish my goals.
• Actively innovate with insight, reflection, and wisdom.
When I was a new employee, my
mother died the very week I started.
When I flew home, I found a card and
flowers from my boss. The card
showed she understood what I was
going through, but also that she valued
me as a new member of our team.
• Purposely create protected space
founded upon mutual respect and car
Our staff has young families and may
need to take time off. They do not want
Table 2
Implementation of Kouzes and Posner’s Five Practices at WFUBMC
1. Model the way. Nurse leaders at WFUBMC share their positive experiences and discuss ideas of how to make them occur more
frequently. They also identify barriers and brainstorm for strategies to help with those opportunities.
2. Inspire a shared vision. We explore together what it means to be a caring leader in our eyes and our peers. We also explore the
impact that our core values have on our day-to-day leadership.
3. Challenge the process. There is an increased emphasis on decisions and their impact on a caring-healing environment for all. We
acknowledge that caring as a leader is necessary if a culture of caring is desired in the organization.
4. Enable others to act. The model has wide appeal among the leaders to assist in developing a caring consciousness and leadership
skills to bridge the gap between the old way of management to a purposeful acknowledgement of the importance of caring at all
levels and in all actions.
5. Encourage the heart. Leaders at multiple levels appreciate the purposeful exploration of what it means to be a caring leader and the
time taken to make this way of being not just an expectation, but an imperative.
2011, Vol. 15, No. 1
A Caring Leadership Model
Table 3
AGAPE Caritas Leadership of Selfless Love Model
Caring Leadership Model©
Model of Care
Patient/Family, Team, Self
Core Values of Caring Leadership Model Crosswalk
McDowell et al.
Caring Leadership Model
Always live with kindness, compassion,
and equality
Jean Watson
Theory of human caring
Practice of loving-kindness and
equanimity; caring consciousness
Kouzes and Posner
Leadership theory
Model the way
Being supportive of expression of positive
and negative feelings
Generate hope and faith through cocreation
Being authentically present in the moment
Inspire a shared vision
Engaging in genuine teaching-learning
Actively innovate with insight, reflection, Cultivation of one’s own spiritual
practices and transpersonal self
and wisdom
Challenge the process
Creative use of self and all ways of
Purposely create protected space founded
upon mutual respect and caring
Creating healing environments at all
Enable others to act
Assisting with basic needs, with an
intentional caring consciousness
Embody an environment of caringhelping-trusting for self and others
Developing and sustaining a helpingtrusting authentic caring relationship
Encourage the heart
Soul care for self and the one being cared
Shared Decision-Making
to leave their work for someone else to
do. We know what we have to do. We
work as one.
• Embody an environment of caringhelping-trusting for self and others
I have had a mentor take an interest in
my personal growth by taking the
extra time to assist my growth by both
acknowledging my positive contribu
tions and also caring enough to help
me recognize when my actions were
perceived as uncaring.
Caring is our core business in healthcare.
One hears that nurses today are burned up
and burned out and are having difficulty
finding a reason to keep on trying. We must
create cultures in hospitals that are worthy
of the commitment of every person who
comes to work and worthy of the trust of
everyone who comes to be served. We need
to serve both those who give care and those
who receive care. Leaders need to find op-
International Journal for Human Caring
portunities to be present with staff. They
need to try to make their workplace the best
place to work and the best place to receive
The nursing leaders of today and tomorrow need to be nurtured in their caring consciousness and their leadership skills. A
model for caring leadership can provide a
foundation for establishing the caring culture that is critical for our future and for
providing the leadership necessary to face
A Caring Leadership Model
the uncertainty and changes ahead. This is
the only way to improve healthcare outcomes for the patients, staff, and for ourselves. By implementing the Caring
Leadership Model we can develop courageous leaders for the future. “We will need
that for a future where patient care will
thrive with outstanding nursing leadership”
(Cardin & McNeese-Smith, 2005, p. 161).
Lauer (2008) believed leadership is not
an affair of the head, but an affair of the
heart. The best-kept secret of successful
leaders is love: staying in love with leading,
with the people who do the work, with the
products of their organizations, and with
those who honor the organization by using
its products and services. Henri Nouwen
(1974), the internationally renowned priest,
author, and respected Harvard University
professor wrrote:
Every human being has a great, yet
often unknown, gift to care, to be compassionate, to become present to the
other, to listen, to hear and receive. If
that gift would be set free and made
available, miracles could take place.
(Wesorick, 2004, p. 275)
Caring leadership could produce those
fect storm: Balancing a culture of safety
with workforce challenges. Nursing
Research, 57(1S), S4-S10.
Kouzes, J.M., & Posner, B.Z. (2007). The
leadership challenge (4th ed.). San
Francisco, CA: Jossey Bass.
Lauer, C., & the Editors at Soundview
Executive Book Summaries (2008). The
management gurus: Lessons from the
best management books of all times. New
York, NY: Portfolio Hardcover.
McDowell, J.B., Williams, II, R.L., Kautz,
D.D., Madden, P., Heilig, A., &
Thompson, A. (2010). Shared governance
10 years later. Nursing Management,
41(7), 32-37.
Nouwen, H. (1974). Out of solitude. Notre
Dame, IN: Ave Maria Press.
Watson, J. (2008). Nursing: The philosophy
and science of caring (rev ed.). Boulder,
CO: University Press of Colorado.
Wendler, M.C., Olson-Sitki, K., & Prater,
M. (2009). Succession planning for RNs:
Implementing a nurse management internship. Journal of Nursing
Administration, 39, 326-333.
Wesorick, B. (2004). A leadership story
about caring. Nursing Administration
Quarterly, 28, 271-275.
Cardin, S., & McNeese-Smith, D. (2005). A
model for bridging the gap. Nursing
Administration Quarterly, 29, 154-161.
Hinshaw, A.S. (2008). Navigating the per-
Author Note
Randy L. Williams, II, Professional Practice/Nursing Research Associate, Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center, WinstonSalem, North Carolina and Faculty Associate, Watson Caring Science Institute, Boulder, Colorado; Judy B. McDowell, Professional Practice
Manager, Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center, Winston-Salem, North Carolina; and Donald D. Kautz, Associate Professor of
Nursing, University of North Carolina at Greensboro, Greensboro, North Carolina.
Corresponding concerning this article should be addressed to Donald D. Kautz, RN, PhD, CNE, Associate Professor of Nursing,
University of North Carolina at Greensboro, P.O. Box 26170, Greensboro, NC 27402-6170 USA. Electronic mail may be sent via Internet to
The authors gratefully acknowledge Mrs. Maureen E. Sintich, MSN, MBA, RN, WHNP-BC, NEA-BC, Vice President Operations, Chief
Nursing Officer, Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center for her leadership, vision, and mentorship; Ms. Elizabeth Tornquist for her
editorial assistance; and Ms. Dawn Wyrick for her assistance with this manuscript.
2011, Vol. 15, No. 1
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individual use.
Topic: Leadership and Nursing Roles
This week your learning Journal will be focused on nursing leadership and the
different types of nursing leadership roles in health care. You also are asked to
develop your own plan for leadership.
Please read at least one of the listed articles under this week’s readings. After
you have read the article, address the following questions and topics:

How do the ideas/suggestions of this article relate to the three nursing
roles (provider of care, manager of care, and member of the profession)?
Discuss a leadership structure you have come across in your practice or
research. How many layers of administration are there in this structure?
Who stands out as a leader in your mind as you look back at your time in
nursing? What role was that person in at the time?
Provide a constructive critique of this person’s ability to function as a
What have you learned about leadership while earning your BSN?
What types of leadership roles have you witnessed in your professional
Lastly, synthesize the information from the readings and prior nursing experience
to discuss what your future plans are as a nursing leader. How do you plan to
use your leadership skills in your nursing role(s)?
Feel free to expand on these questions if necessary.
Your finished Journal entry should be, at minimum, eight (8) well-developed
paragraphs with more than three (3) sentences per paragraph.
Journal Requirements
As this Assignment is a Journal entry and not a formal paper, it may at times be
difficult to follow the organization, style, and formatting of the APA 6th Edition
Manual. Despite this, your Journal Assignment should:

clearly establish and maintain the viewpoint and purpose of the
follow the conventions of Standard American English (correct grammar,
punctuation, etc.);
be well ordered, logical, and unified, as well as original and insightful;
display superior content, organization, style, and mechanics; and
use APA 6th edition format for crediting sources.
Quality/Content (66%) of
your journal will be
measured on the
following criteria:

All journal
questions were
demonstrated a
critical analysis
of the question(s)
No quality criteria were
(0 points)
One criterion was
met or two criteria
were met but the
responses were
Two criteria were
Responses were
met; but responses thorough and
needed to be
critically analyzed.
developed more.
(10 points)
(20 points)
(30 points)
There were rare
errors in
and/or APA.
There were no
errors in
and APA.
(7 points)
(10 points)
There were considerable There were some
errors in spelling/grammar errors in
and/or APA.
and/or APA.
(0) points
(3 points)
_____/ 30
_____/ 10
Total Points
_____/ 40 points

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