An examination of nursing models from the practitioner's perspective
This thesis reports a study that aimed to create a better understanding of nursing models. It set out to explore nursing models from the qualified nurse's perspective. Such perspective is of interest to the debate about nursing models which has often been conducted at the rhetorical rather than evidence based level. The methodological approach is that of grounded theory (Glaser and Strauss, 1967) with a three stage interview process as the data collection method. The sample comprised qualified nurses in Scotland who were undertaking educational programmes which included input on nursing models. The central themes from the interview stages were: first interview: operationalising the model; second interview: contextualising the model; and the third interview: nursing models and the reality of practice. These central themes were the foundation for the development of a three model typology distinguishing between: the theoretical model which is the conceptual model of the theorist, is abstract, general and developed through inductive and deductive approaches and presented as a potential picture of nursing; the mental model which is the personal pattern or schema of the individual nurse and represents the way nursing is described by the individual; and the Surrogate model which is a functional representation used by nurses to collect data, communicate and through which the organisation can standardise and audit practice. It is concluded that nursing models should not be seen as pertaining to a single entity but be described in the typologies described above. In this way some of the confusion about the way nursing models have been introduced and taught can be addressed. This is especially viewed in the context of models as forms of truth, external objects, adaptable, tools for use or tools for thought, as having individual or collective value and requiring evaluation from the individual's perspective.