Although it’s been around for close to 50 years, primary care nursing is often misunderstood or overlooked as a model for effective nursing care. To deal with any uncertainty about where it could be deployed, or where it might not be of value, let’s look at the basics of what the primary nursing model is and does.
First, realize that in addition to primary care nursing, other nursing-delivery models include:
Each has its adherents, and each can and should be evaluated to see if it would work in the particular healthcare setting under review.
Primary Nursing Model Definition
Primary care nursing is when a single nurse is identified as the point of contact and primary caregiver for a patient during his or her particular hospital stay or other episode of care. As envisioned by staff nurses at the University of Minnesota in 1969, the primary care nursing team is composed of that lead nurse, who directly supervises the engagement of a licensed practical nurse and/or nursing assistant in that patient’s care. Further, the primary care nurse acts as care partner, serving as communications liaison between the patient and his or her doctor and other care team members. (In many facilities and systems, the position of nurse practitioner has been created to fulfill this role.)
The Primary n model is hailed by proponents as creating a better bond and trust relationship between patients and caregivers, thanks to that single-source relationship. They say that the patient’s care is elevated by having that single nurse overseeing its delivery, and that its structure empowers the nurse to utilize managerial abilities as well as deploy their best bedside care.
Adapting the Primary Nursing Care Model Has Challenges
Even so, it’s not an easy system to put into place for a variety of reasons. For one, the nurses who engage in it must have strong interpersonal skills. Nurses are known for their empathy, certainly, but large patient loads and nurse shortages mean that many if not most are working with many time constraints, and so may have seen those skills atrophy somewhat.
What’s more, becoming a primary care nurse means accepting responsibility for that patient’s outcome, to a degree. The nurse is acting as both caregiver and care manager, and that can be a difficult balance to maintain.
Resistance to Change
And lastly, there’s the usual resistance to change. It’s natural to be wary of a new system, even if it promises to solve many vexing problems that nurses face in today’s hospital and other care settings. Their chief goal is almost always to spend more time with patients and grow those interpersonal relationships with patients and their friends and families. Done properly, primary care nursing provides the setting for those interactions to take place, and also can do much to improve patient safety and better outcomes, not to mention staff satisfaction and improved retention.
HealthStream’s learning management system and comprehensive suite of competency management tools empower your healthcare workforce to deliver the best patient care.View All Learning & Performance
When you enact HealthStream's quality compliance solutions, you can do so with the confidence your healthcare organization will meet all standards of care.View All Quality & Compliance
Fulfill compliance requirements with a variety of programs and courseware designed to address critical regulatory requirements as well as educate staff to recognize and mitigate risks.View All Products
By increasing your healthcare staff's focus on quality and safety with HealthStream, they can help to reduce medical errors and readmission rates.View All Products
HealthStream offers professional training and education on how to best optimize your reimbursement process within your healthcare organization.View All Reimbursement
Learn about our advanced resuscitation training solutions. Our solutions are designed to help improve patient outcomes.View All Resuscitation
Expand the decision-making skills and effectiveness of your healthcare workforce with HealthStream's clinical development programs and services.View All Clinical Development
Learn more about HealthStream's Provider Credentialing, privileging, & enrollment solutions.View All Credentialing
Make sure your healthcare staff can schedule out appointments and work schedules with ease using HealthStream's line of software solutions.View All Scheduling