Nursing models, far from being anything tangible such a car or truck, or even a computer, that runs on fuel and human interaction, are only theories and notions. These intangible methods and applied means of educating nurses are nursing models and they are driven by human interaction and information technology, and their test kits are people.
These seemingly hyperbolic tool boxes help nurse educators " plan, and implement patient care by providing a framework within which to work" according to Nursing Lingo, a site within World Lingo. To borrow a phrases from modern lingo, nurses must be on the same page, so that each will know what the correct procedure is.
How do they work? Basically theories behind the nursing models deal with what should or should not be done. Nursing, to be more near accuracy as to description, is somewhere in the middle ground, neither too academic nor theoretical, but more toward practicality. Yet, having enough of each to make it taken seriously and seen as a group that embraces the best of the culture it lives and works in.
Patient care is a prime consideration. All else revolves around this one ethic. In other words, the patient comes first. Goals which are worked out for each patient is part of the nursing plan, and are all inclusive. Nurses, doctors, and all other personnel comes in contact with the patient all fit into this plan. This is updated daily and amended as to the progress being made, or not being made.
More toward the academic and organizational part of nursing models: There are approximately five different models, or theories that will contain most theories. Metatheories, grand theories, mid-range theories, minitheories, and micro-theories.
Metatheories means actually a higher order of nursing. It is not a hodgepodge of care that reinvents itself at every turn in the road, but a serious study of how nurses are to approach nursing. It is actually a science in itself and is definitely more than being an extension of the doctor-patient relationship.
While that is important, It is separate. The meta theory of nursing stands its own ground. The nurse has her own role in patient care and she sees herself as guardian of the overall care of patients, mentally, physically, and yes even spiritually. She is, in the eyes of the metatheorists, at least, the center of patient care. There is a deliberate difference between the type of patient care give by a nurse and the care given by a physician. Each is important.
Grand theories put nursing on a elevated plateau of understanding with broad outlines for treatment. According to examples from Nursing Theory Network, the three grandest theories of all originated with Leininger's Cultural Care Diversity; Newman's Health as Expanding Consciousness; and Parse's Theory of Human Becoming. There are others, but these are prime examples.
Leininger's theory resulted from observations of clinical practices that - supposedly - found the missing link in nursing care, a wholistic approach that dealt with culture as well as with their physical bodies. Expanding Consciousness and the Theory of Human Becoming, if the labels are meaningful, mean that the patient was to be treated as a whole person that take in all aspects of their being, and not just the part that was most troublesome at any given moment.
The other theoretical nursing models taper down and broaden out from the top. Midrange theories descended a few rungs but still maintain the lofty ideals that gives the nursing profession the prestigious setting it has earned. These still focus on the whole patient but do not steep themselves into theory to the extent that the suffering patient becomes something less than the theory behind their care.
Mid range theories understand that possibly a few kind words spoken in a language they understand is what matters. The theory was initiated from clinical experiences recognizing that culture, a wholistic concept, was the missing link in nursing knowledge and practice. Mini and micro theories are even lowering the rhetoric further toward what is essentially important to the patient, care and understanding.
Why has all this been necessary? Doctors all too often gets bogged down in treating diseases and in learning that they sometimes forget to look at the patient as an individual. Their Biomedical Model which was the first basic model of patient care saw/sees the disease as being the same in all patients.
The first to look at patient care differently was Florence Nightingale. And she was the first theorist who, during the Crimean War waded in and changed how nursing was practiced. She saw it was the right of the nurse to be in charge of the environment where patient care was concerned. Nurse educators have been building their models of care ever since.