Over the years different methods or approaches have been used in health care settings when it comes to nursing patients. These different methods or approaches of nursing patients are known as Nursing Care Delivery Models or systems.

This article has been written to provide you with detailed information about what nursing care delivery model is, examples of nursing care delivery systems or models, and also to address some frequently asked questions about nursing care delivery models. Our goal is that by the time you finish reading this article you will have in-depth knowledge about the different types of nursing care delivery systems .

 Nursing Care Delivery Model Definition

On a fundamental level, the definition of nursing care delivery model is how patient care is organized or how nurses are assigned to provide patients with nursing care in health care settings. The system tells who is responsible or accountable for the outcomes of patients care. It’s important, however, to mention that registered nurses are usually held accountable for the outcome of patient care in health care settings. This is because they have more than one job titles that come with responsibilities, and credentials.

As stated above, there are different methods or approaches commonly used by healthcare professionals in patient care, these different approaches are called nursing care delivery models.  Four of the well-known nursing care delivery models including their descriptions are listed below.

Nursing Care Delivery Models

Types of Nursing Care Delivery Models

Below are the  four (4) well-known types of nursing care delivery systems:

  • The total patient care delivery model
  • The functional nursing care delivery model
  • The team nursing care delivery model
  • The primary nursing care delivery model

The Total Patient Care Delivery Model

The total patient care delivery model is an intensive nursing care delivery system which happened to be the oldest model of nursing care delivery. With the total patient care delivery model, one nurse provides total nursing care to a patient or many patients during a shift. With this model, patients address their needs to the nurse on duty. 

The nurse is responsible for patients care until the end of the nurse’s duty hours. The advantages of total patient care, nurse-patient relationships are built easily. It provides patient with holistic care. This is because the nurses take responsibility for every aspect of patients’ care. They work in shifts to take care of patients needs like personal hygiene, administering medication including emotional support. One nurse takes care of the patient in a shift, then handover to another nurse to continue from where he or she stopped. This model is more traditional than any of the models listed above. 

The truth is that the total nursing care delivery model doesn’t favour some options in healthcare settings. That’s the patient may be put on treatments or medications that can not be administered by the nurse on duty. The staff-to-patient ratio may also affect this concept greatly.

The Functional nursing care delivery

The functional model of nursing care delivery is a method or an approach of nursing care delivery system that has been used for many decades. This model was formulated during the second world war due to the shortage of registered nurses at locations where the service of nurses are needed to care for the troops.

The model is designed to help complete many tasks within a short period. Members of the nursing team are tasked to complete assigned tasks for several patients, and people who are not professional nurses were trained to carry out simple tasks. After the war, health care facilities and  Hospitals adopted functional nursing care delivery due to shortage. They were happy with the adoption because it is less expensive using lesser skilled personnel.

Functional nursing care delivery system is regarded as task-oriented in scope. This is because several nurses are assigned to one or two tasks  Instead of a single performing several tasks. What this means is that there is a nurse to administer medication, a nurse responsible for parents’ diagnostic tests, a nurse for checking vital signs, etc., etc.

The main idea behind functional nursing care delivery is assigning nurses to tasks rather than assigning them to patients. Experienced and highly qualified nurses are assigned to the most advanced and complex task while junior nurses or staffs are assigned to basic tasks. This creates more time for highly qualified and skilled nurses. With functional nursing, the skills of the nurses are being taken advantage of at all levels in their careers. 

One disadvantage of the functional nursing care delivery model is that it doesn’t provide patient with holistic care because it focuses on only specific injuries, symptoms, or illnesses rather than focusing on the patient as a whole.

Functional nursing care delivery comes with many advantages, these include; tasks are accompanied at the shortest possible time, staff learn to work at a faster pace, junior staffs learn from senior staffs and it’s less costly.

The Team Nursing Care Delivery Model

This model was introduced into health care delivery by Eleanor C. Lambertsen in the 1950s. Her nursing model focus on “let’s all work together” and it very similar to the functional model, however, the team nursing care delivery system operate on a large scale. The team nursing model comes with a head, that is a senior nurse is responsible for delegating tasks throughout the group. Collective cares for several patients are being carried out at the same time. Like the functional nursing care delivery model, tasks are assigned to team members based on skill level, experience and training.

The team nursing model creates room for healthcare team members with limited skills and experience to learn from their colleagues with experience, expertise and knowledge. This also creates from those with more skills,  experience and expertise to focus on advanced tasks that equate their skill set. The beautiful thing about the team nursing care delivery system is that it improves efficiency and also serves as a learning and training platform for most of the team members.

This model calls for RNs and medical doctors to coordinate the work of many disciplines levels. Lambertsen’s is what is largely use in many hospitals now.

Like the functional nursing care delivery model, a nurse may be assigned to give medication while another nurse may be assigned to give the patient bed bath.

Primary Nursing Care Delivery Model

Primary nursing care delivery is one of the nursing models of care delivery. To look at this model in detail, let’s begin with the question, what is primary nursing model of care?

The primary nursing care model is a system of nursing care delivery that focuses on the continuity of care where one registered nurse (RN) and a licensed practical nurse (LPN) work together with or without a nurse aide, to provide total care for an assigned number of patients throughout their stay in the hospital. This nursing care delivery model was birthed in 1969 by nursing staffs in Minnesota university

In primary health care models, the primary nurse takes responsibility and coordinate all nursing care with the support of other members of staff. This help the nurse to get great insight into the medical and emotional condition of the patient.

With primary care models of care delivery, much more attention is given to building a therapeutic relationship between the patient and the said nurse that is responsible for the patient’s care plan throughout hospitalisation. As a result, the patient knows exactly who his or her primary nurse is, hence, the patient has his or her needs met through the primary nurse

So, in a nutshell, primary nursing has four organisation and principles that are used in health care delivery. These include decision-making, allocation of work, communication, and the last one is management.  Usually, the nurse-in-charge make the decision, the decision is then move to the primary nurse, in other words, the primary is giving responsibility to care for a patient. The primary nurse then allocates work to other nurses when he or she is not on duty. However, accountability as well as communication between the patient, and the entire health care team lies in the hands of the primary nurse.

Our health care system is fast changing every day through the help of technology, the way we use to do things are fading away as new and better ways are being developed by the help of technology. Through technology many mobile applications have been developed to facilitate health care delivery. 

Most of this mobile apps and platform are designed to enable healthcare providers to meet with patients from all walks of life. Patients don’t have to move to health care providers to discuss their health issues. We will talk more about these Applications when they are officially incorporated into our health care system by WOH.

Frequently Asked Question And Answers 

Let’s wrap up with the question and answer below:

  1. Which method of delivering client care works well in disaster situations?

The answer is the functional nursing care delivery model because it works well in emergencies as well as disaster situations. 

2. Which type of delivery of nursing care is organized around tasks?

The answer is the functional nursing care delivery model

3. Which model of nursing is focused on the task-oriented approach to client care?

The question is the same as question two (2) so the answer is functional nursing care delivery system.

4. A nurse is assigned to take care of a group of clients. which client should the nurse see first?

With a question like this, look for the possible answer that is concerned with airway problem first. You must always attend patients will airway problem first.

5. A common element among nursing care delivery models is..?

The answer is the ratio of nurses to patients

Written by
Albright McHeals