Medical Model vs Nursing Model

by | Feb 22, 2022 | Nursing Student | 0 comments

As nursing students, it is important to understand the different approaches to healthcare and how they can impact patient outcomes. Two of the most common approaches are the medical model and the nursing model. In this blog post, we will explore the differences between these two models (medical model vs. nursing model) and how they can impact patient care.

medical model vs nursing model

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Models of Care

A model of care is a framework or approach that guides the delivery of healthcare services to patients. It is a structured and systematic way of organizing and delivering care that is designed to achieve specific goals and meet the needs of patients.

A model of care typically includes the following components: Philosophy, goals, processes, roles and responsibilities, communication and coordination, evaluation.

What Is the Medical Model?

The medical model is a traditional approach to healthcare that is focused on the diagnosis and treatment of diseases and medical conditions. This approach is primarily focused on curing or managing specific diseases or medical conditions through medication, surgery, and other medical interventions. The medical model emphasizes the role of the physician as the expert who diagnoses and treats the patient’s illness.

Under the medical model, healthcare providers are trained to identify specific symptoms and use evidence-based treatments to address those symptoms. This approach is heavily reliant on technology, medical equipment, and pharmaceuticals to manage patient care. While the medical model can be effective in treating acute and chronic medical conditions, it can sometimes neglect the patient’s overall well-being and focus solely on the medical condition.

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What Is the Nursing Model?

The nursing model, on the other hand, is a more holistic approach to healthcare that emphasizes the patient’s overall health and well-being, as well as their social, psychological, and environmental factors that may impact their health. This approach recognizes that the patient is more than just their medical condition and that their overall health and well-being are influenced by a range of factors, including their social support network, psychological state, and environmental factors.

Under the nursing model, healthcare providers work collaboratively with patients to develop a care plan that takes into account their individual needs and preferences. This approach is focused on patient-centered care, which means that the patient is actively involved in their care and treatment decisions, and that their values, beliefs, and preferences are taken into account.

The nursing model emphasizes the importance of communication and relationship building between healthcare providers and patients. This approach recognizes that the patient is the expert on their own experiences and that healthcare providers must work collaboratively with them to develop a plan of care that meets their unique needs.

Key Differences: Medical Model vs Nursing Model

While both models aim to provide the best care possible for patients, they differ in their philosophies, values, and approach to care.


The medical model is based on the idea that illness is a biological problem that can be diagnosed and treated using medical interventions. The nursing model, on the other hand, views health as a holistic concept that includes physical, psychological, and social aspects.

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The medical model focuses primarily on the diagnosis and treatment of disease. The nursing model, on the other hand, focuses on the patient as a whole person, taking into account their physical, emotional, and social needs.

Role of the Healthcare Provider

In the medical model, the healthcare provider is typically a physician who is responsible for diagnosing and treating the patient’s illness. In the nursing model, the healthcare provider is a nurse who works collaboratively with the patient to develop a plan of care that addresses their individual needs.

Treatment Approach

The medical model relies heavily on medical interventions, such as medications, surgery, and other procedures. The nursing model emphasizes the importance of holistic care and may use a range of interventions, including medications, physical therapy, counseling, and patient education.


In the medical model, decisions about treatment are typically made by the physician, with input from other healthcare providers as needed. In the nursing model, the patient is viewed as an active participant in their own care and is involved in the decision-making process.

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Benefits of Both Models for Patients

Patients gain from the best of both worlds when the medical and nursing approaches are applied in tandem. The medical model treats diseases and injuries, whereas the nursing model cares for and supports the person. When patients’ specific requirements are considered, this leads to improved health results.

Patients who get care from nurses who adhere to the nursing model frequently have reduced stress levels, increased communication with healthcare professionals, and better overall health results. When a patient’s physical, emotional, and spiritual needs are considered, they are more likely to recover quickly and thoroughly.

While the medical model is an essential part of healthcare, it should be noted that it does have some limitations. The nursing model fills in these gaps by providing holistic care for patients, essential for their overall well-being.

When both models are used together, patients benefit from the best of both worlds. The medical model provides treatment for illnesses and injuries, while the nursing model provides care and support for the whole person. This leads to better health outcomes for patients when their individual needs are considered.

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    Hi, I’m Kati.

    Kati Kleber, MSN RN is a nurse educator, author, national speaker, host of the FreshRN® Podcast, and owner of FreshRN® – an online platform created to educate, encourage, and motivate newly licensed nurses in innovative ways.

    Connect with her on YouTube, Pinterest, TikTok, Instagram, and Facebook, and sign-up for her free email newsletter for new nurses.


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