Models, muddles and medicine.

  • Russ Holden
  • Published 1990 in International journal of nursing studies


The current prevalent attitude of disapprobation towards the medical model, held by nurse practitioners and educationalists alike, stems from a desire to denounce diagnostic reductionism and proselytize holistic care. It is argued, that the medical model encourages the perception that the patient is "essentially and only their medical diagnosis," and to relate to patients 'as if' they are kidney, a broken leg, a gall stone, or an ulcer, is to dehumanize the person. In order to overcome this predilection, the patient must be seen as a 'whole person' and not simply as some extraneous part of their dysfunctional anatomy. But this all too pervasive tendency, to reduce patients to nothing more than their medical diagnosis, is surely not the responsibility of the medical model? On the contrary, it is the responsibility of the individual medical or nurse practitioner who, on formulating a medical diagnosis, proceeds to convert the patient into an object and from there on regards the patient as "essentially and only their diagnosis of illness."

Cite this paper

@article{Holden1990ModelsMA, title={Models, muddles and medicine.}, author={Russ Holden}, journal={International journal of nursing studies}, year={1990}, volume={27 3}, pages={223-34} }