Primary nursing: A mode of care or a philosophy of nursing?

David Pontin*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

28 Citations (Scopus)


An examination of the literature surrounding primary nursing has shown that the term 'primary nursing' is used to mean different things by different authors. This results in a confusing situation where 'primary nursing' is considered by some to mean both a mode of organizing care delivery and a philosophy of nursing. In this paper I argue for a clear separation between the terms which refer to the set of ideas underpinning nursing and descriptions of modes of care. A case is made for using the term 'human centred nursing' to refer to nursing beliefs and 'primary nursing' to refer to the mode of nursing care delivery.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)584-591
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Advanced Nursing
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1 Mar 1999
Externally publishedYes


  • Human-centred nursing
  • Mode of care
  • Philosophy of nursing
  • Primary nursing


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