My brother, Walt Davis, is an award-winning watercolorist. He has set a goal for himself to do a sketch each day. He has been posting those sketches on his Facebook page. We were chatting and I mentioned I would like to try a similar exercise. So, here it is. For the next month I will be “writing out loud” on a paper I hope to submit to Advances in Nursing Science in October. I have no idea exactly where the paper will lead me or whether or not I will actually submit the paper but I am focusing on the act of writing out of a love of the process. So here goes…….
Do we (our research group from the INSRNC) have a paper that will address “models of care”?
I have been thinking about the term “models of care” and wondering whether our work on unfinished, missed, and rationed care might be related. When I think of a model I think of a simplified representation of something much more multifaceted and complex than the model created to depict it. For example, architects construct models of buildings, spaces, or entire cities in three dimensions. Such models convey more information than two-dimensional drawings and do so at a much lower cost than the structures they represent. Hobbyists build models of trains, planes, ships, etc. and in doing experience enjoyment and excitement while reproducing these in a smaller space, for less cost, and without the danger or the inherent flaws of the “real”. Fashion models are sought after who can make designers’ work look beautiful, trendy, and imbued with allure. Ironically, the model in this case usually bears little or no resemblance to the consumer of the fashions.
Theorists also create models of their thinking about phenomena and processes. Such models, like those mentioned above, allow for the conveyance of information and perceptions of experience but do so by omitting constraints such as cost, scale, detail, and imperfection or blemish.
Researchers rely upon models (sometimes referred to as theories) in many cases to simplify and guide their study of a “real” phenomenon or process. They do this by mapping their planned study hypotheses, definitions, data collection approach, analytic techniques, and sample characteristics onto existing models. In such cases models act as scaffolds, giving structure and coherence to their research. Research results can then be used to test degree to which the model or theory portrayed, accurately, the “real” situation to which it was applied. Models, therefore, have many uses in the production of new structures, experiences, products, and knowledge. However, reducing reality to a model also has drawbacks that are important to identify, acknowledge, and address.
The broad subject of theory testing is beyond the scope of this paper. However, it is the aim here to examine the manner in which various models of thought have been used to describe, measure, and put-right situations in which nurses do not provide all the care needed by their patients. Such an examination of the three predominant models underlying extant research on this topic will draw attention to the usefulness as well as the pitfalls of using any model to represent an activity as nonlinear, as mutable, and as intricate as caring.