• nursing models;
  • theoretical models;
  • conceptual models;
  • qualitative research;
  • grounded theory;
  • serial interviews

Background. It is contended that models of nursing have lost the momentum and challenge that they promised the profession. Their use, value and purpose have been seriously questioned and new perspectives on their use and implementation in practice, education and research are required. In addition, limited evidence exists on the implementation of models into clinical areas.

Aim. To explore the meaning of models of nursing to practising nurses.

Methods. Serial interviews with qualified nurses who were undertaking an educational programme or module that explored and examined models of nursing.

Findings. The outcome reveals that the use of the terms, models of nursing or nursing model, are limited and confusing as the terms can encompass a range of meanings. It is suggested that a three-model typology exists that clarifies more fully the present position of nursing models. The three models are Theoretical Model, Mental Model and Surrogate Model.

Limitations. The focus on data collection through serial interviews with qualified practitioners could have been broadened to include a range of data sources such as teachers and clinical areas, which could have enriched the phenomenon of models of nursing.

Conclusions. There is a greater need to understand nursing models within the framework of the three-model typology and to reconsider their introduction and use in this context.