Curbing nurses' burnout during COVID-19: The roles of servant leadership and psychological safety

Ying Ma, Naveed Ahmad Faraz*, Fawad Ahmed, Muhammad Khalid Iqbal, Umair Saeed, Muhammad Farhan Mughal, Ali Raza

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

53 Citations (Scopus)


Aims: This study examines the role of servant leadership through the mechanism of psychological safety in curbing nurses' burnout during the COVID-19 pandemic. Background: During the COVID-19 pandemic, studies have shown an increased level of stress and burnout among health care workers, especially nurses. This study responds to the call for research to explore the mechanisms of servant leadership in predicting nurses' burnout by employing the perspective of conservation of resources theory. Methods: Through a cross-sectional quantitative research design, data were collected in three waves from 443 nurses working in Pakistan's five public sector hospitals. Data were analysed by employing the partial least squares path modelling (PLS-PM) technique. Results: Servant leadership (β = −0.318; 95% CI = 0.225, 0.416) and psychological safety (β = −0.342; CI = 0.143, 0.350) have an inverse relationship with nurses' burnout and explain 63.1% variance. Conclusions: Servant leadership significantly reduces nurses' burnout, and psychological safety mediates this relationship. Implications for Nursing Management: Human resource management policies in health care must emphasize training nursing leaders in servant leadership behaviour.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2383-2391
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Nursing Management
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2021
Externally publishedYes


  • COVID-19
  • conservation of resources theory
  • nurses' burnout
  • psychological safety
  • servant leadership

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