Nursing theory is the foundation of how nurses care for their patients. Within nursing theory is the nursing process itself that gives nurses the steps they should follow to care for patients.
This process includes:
Nurses often work with other healthcare professionals during each step of the process to treat each patient as best as possible based on all relevant information.
Nurses and nurse practitioners who become educated under this model focus on more than just symptoms when addressing a patient’s primary health concern. The nursing model considers the whole person, including mental state and the patient’s support system.
Healthcare workers seek to care for patients so they may remain medically independent. If that is not possible, they help coach the patient’s support system in how to implement a care plan that enables the patient to become as medically independent as possible. Nurses educate their patients on caring for their health to prevent disease and other issues. They use a holistic approach to advise patients on positive lifestyle changes.
The medical model focuses on biomedical approach to disease and illness. Through symptom assessment and patient history, doctors may choose to diagnose a patient within five minutes of meeting. Further diagnostic testing may be done after a conclusion is made to confirm or deny results. However, they may not need to take this step to start a treatment plan. One benefit of this method is quick diagnosis.
In comparison, the nursing model is more investigative and patient-centered than disease-centered — it traces the source of the problem, medical history and other contributing factors, including a patient’s emotional and mental well-being and general lifestyle choices.
Since physicians must often care for a high volume of patients, it can be more effective for them and their assistants to use the medical model with its quick and effective approach. The model lets physicians address patient concerns quickly, which can be helpful when the patient is in extreme discomfort or pain.
The scope of practice is defined as the actions a licensed health professional can legally take to treat patients. These are determined by the applicable state nursing and medical boards.