Traditional models of care delivery: what have we learned?

J Nurs Adm. 2004 Jun;34(6):291-7. doi: 10.1097/00005110-200406000-00008.


Traditional models of patient care delivery include total patient care and functional, team, and primary nursing. These models differ in clinical decision making, work allocation, communication, and management, with differing social and economic forces driving the choice of model. Studies regarding quality of care, cost, and satisfaction for the models provide little evidence for determining which model of care is most effective in any given situation. Despite lack of evidence, newer models continue to be implemented. This article compares the advantages and disadvantages of models, critiques the existing studies, and offers recommendations regarding the evidence needed to make informed decisions regarding care delivery models.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Historical Article

MeSH terms

  • Costs and Cost Analysis
  • Delivery of Health Care / history*
  • History, 20th Century
  • History, 21st Century
  • Humans
  • Models, Nursing*
  • Nursing Care* / organization & administration
  • Nursing, Supervisory / history
  • Nursing, Supervisory / organization & administration
  • Nursing, Team / history
  • Nursing, Team / organization & administration
  • Patient Care Team
  • Primary Nursing / history
  • Primary Nursing / organization & administration
  • Quality Indicators, Health Care
  • United States