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Model of Care

The nurses at UC Irvine Medical Center continuously strive to meet the needs of our patients and their families. In 2006, we began the process of adopting Relationship-Based Care (RBC) and Primary Nursing as our models of care. These models not only focus on the relationships between the patient and the care provider, but also on the relationship between the provider and the patient’s family, colleagues and self. 

At the heart of RBC is the essence of caring, defined as an experience in which one person connects with another through an act of kindness, touch or by using competent clinical interventions.

Under the Primary Nursing model, the nurse has the responsibility to plan and coordinate care during a patient's stay. The primary nurse has the responsibility, authority and accountability to plan both daily and long-term goals to meet the patient’s needs. This gives the nurse the ability to establish a caring relationship with the patient and family members over time.

A nurse who is holistic and self-caring can create harmony with others in the caring moment. If nurses do not appreciate themselves as caring people or do not care for themselves, it is impossible to compassionately care for others (Turkel & Ray, 2004). Feeling connected to each other creates harmony and healing; feeling isolated destroys the spirit (Koloroutis, 2004).

Throughout the history of nursing, the nurse-patient relationship has been the essence of practice (Manthey, 2002). A more unified yet culturally diverse, whole person-environment field perspective that invites each person, each culture, each nation state to assert a belief system, values and hopes for what is health, healing, wholeness and quality of living/dying for self and others; this perspective of caritas and communitas goes beyond clinical views of medical illness and pathology and enters into a deeper subjective human dimension related to self-knowledge, self-control, self-caring and even self-healing potential (Watson, 2007). 


  • Koloroutis, M. (Ed.) (2004). Relationship-Based Care: A Model for Transforming Practice. Minneapolis, MN: Creative Health Care Management, Inc.
  • Manthey, M. (2002). The Practice of Primary Nursing (2nd ed.). Minneapolis, MN: Creative Health Care Management, Inc.
  • Turkel, M.C. & Ray, M. A. (2004). Restoring Caring Back Into Nursing. Nursing Administration Quarterly. 28(4), 249-254.
  • Watson, J. (2007). Theoretical questions and concerns: Response from a caring science framework. Nursing Science Quarterly. 20(13).