Q & A – Professional Practice Model

Vicki Haag
VP Nursing Excellence, Project Management

Professional Practice Model vs. Care Delivery Model

During the recent Professional Practice Model webinar, we received a high volume of engagement from the audience throughout the presentation. As part of our continued efforts to respond to those interested in HealthLinx resources and topics, we have selected a question received during the webinar to address in more detail.

Question: What are some tips to help nurses understand the differences between their organization’s Professional Practice Model (PPM) and their Care Delivery Model/System (CDM)?

Answer: Nurses at all levels across the organization should be able to articulate the differences and relationship between these two foundational models.  According to the American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC), a PPM is the schematic representation of how nurses “practice, collaborate, communicate, and develop professionally” (ANCC, 2013, p.74.)  The PPM usually includes a narrative description of the model and its components. The CDM describes the structure and processes nurses use to provide care to patients, and it involves nurses’ authority and accountability to make decisions that affect the outcomes of their care (ANCC, 2013; Hoffart & Woods, 1996). The CDM might or might not be represented by a schematic illustration, and it might differ between patient care departments/units.

Simply stated, the PPM encompasses the practice of nurses at all levels and in all settings across the organization; the CDM applies to nurses’ provision of direct patient care. The CDM is a component of the PPM. There is usually one PPM for the entire organization; there may be more than one CDM across the patient care areas in the organization.

Tips for helping nurses understand the differences and relationships between the PPM and CDM are to:

  • Include the definitions, purpose, scope, and relationship between the two models during nurses’ initial orientation and annual competencies/trainings.
  • Make the model definitions, purpose, scope, and relationship pertinent to your organization’s models – keep them simple and applicable to the nurses in your organization.
  • Ask clinical nurses to provide patient care examples to illustrate their use of the CDM; ask nurses from all levels and settings to provide professional practice examples to illustrate their use of PPM components. (Hint: Clinical nurses will be able to apply both the PPM and CDM components to their care of patients.)
  • Post both models together in patient care departments and use an arrow or call out to show where the CDM is integrated into the PPM.
  • During nurses’ periodic evaluations/revisions of the PPM, include an evaluation of the CDM by clinical nurses (since the CDM is part of the PPM).


Click here to access the webinar video


Click here to access the webinar sides



American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC). (2013). 2014 Magnet® application manual. Silver Spring, MD: Author.

Hoffart, N., & Woods, C. Q. (1996). Elements of a nursing PPM. Journal of Professional Nursing, 12(6), 356-364

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