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Functional Nursing

It is a system of care that concentrates on duties. It can be seen as an assembly line of care. The
RN coordinates care for an entire unit or team. Other nurses are assigned to pass medications and
perform treatments. Personnel with less training are assigned to provide more basic care such as bed
bath and bed making. It began during the World War II when the demand for client care outstripped the
supply of nurses. (Black and Hawks, 2008)
This kind of nursing modality is task-oriented in which a particular nursing function is assigned to each
worker. One registered nurse may be responsible for giving medications, another nurse for admission
and discharges while nursing attendant change linen, provide hygienic care or do simple procedures for
which they have trained. This method divides the work to be done with each person being responsible
to the Head or Senior Nurse. It is the best system that can be used when there are many patients and
professional nurses are few. It is suitable only for short-term use. If continued, it fragments the care of
patients to tasks only.
In the functional nursing method of patient care delivery, staff members are assigned to complete
certain tasks for a group of patients rather than care for specific patients. For example, the RN performs
all assessments and administers all intravenous medications; the LVN/LPN gives all oral medications; and
the assistant performs hygiene tasks and takes vital signs. A charge nurse makes the assignments and
coordinates the care.

Nurse Manager

PO Meds



Nurse aide


Vital signs


Care plans



Assigned Patient Group

The functional nursing care delivery model

The advantages of functional nursing are that:

1.It allows most work to be accomplished in the shortest time possible;
2.Workers learn to work fast;
3.Workers gain skill faster in a particular task because of repetitive task;
4.Greater control over work activities and it is aimed at conservation of workers and cost.

The disadvantages are:

1.Fragmentation of nursing care and therefore holistic care is not achieved;
2.Nurses accountability and responsibility are diminished;
3.Patients cannot identify who their real nurse is;4.Nurse-patient relationship is not fully developed;
5.Evaluation of nursing care is poor and outcomes are rarely documented; and
6.It is difficult to find specific person who can answer the patients relatives questions.

REFENCES: Barbara Cherry, Susan R. Jacob,Contemporary Nursing,Issues, Trends, & Management,6:

Contemporary Nursing
Yoder-Wise Patricia S., Leading and Managing in Nursing