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Who cares? Who cures? The ongoing debate in the provision of health care


Andrea Baumann McMaster University, HSC 2J17, Faculty of Health Sciences, 1200 Main Street West, Hamilton, Ontario, Canada L8N 3Z5.


Who cares? Who cures? The ongoing debate in the provision of health care¶In the debate about the role of health professionals, two normative models have been placed in opposition —‘care vs. cure’. To many, the cure model has been associated with physicians, and the care model with nursing and the other allied health professions. As the shortcomings of a cure-orientated model have been recognized, particularly in dealing with chronic disease, more attention has been focused on care, with many writing as though the two were mutually exclusive. In this paper, we suggest that these models are instead end-points on a continuum which ideally should be used by all health providers, rather than being characteristic of different clinical professionals. This conceptualization places less concern on what should be done by doctors as opposed to nurses, and more on the needs of the particular situation. The resulting convergence among roles should not imply that nursing and the allied health professions will adopt the medical model, but that medicine, nursing and others will work together with patients for all members’ mutual benefit. In this expanded continuum, the focus for decision making becomes the patient and family in partnership and collaboration with health professionals.