Health Models and Healing Environments

Subject: Healthcare Institution
Pages: 5
Words: 1103
Reading time:
5 min
Study level: College


Health, unlike other phenomena in this world, is not easy to grasp and reason about. Ideas about health emerged not because of spontaneous thinking activities, but because there was a purpose. A surrounding cultural context significantly influenced each notion (Swinton et al., 2015). It is not possible to offer a health service without defining what health is (Swinton et al., 2015) Furthermore, to understand what intervention and healing strategies should be used, it is vital to study health and healing models.

Western and Eastern Models

There has been a long debate over the efficacy and accuracy of these two models. On the one hand, Western approach to medicine is directed by scientific discoveries on the human body, but prescribed medication often leads to adverse patient outcomes in the long run (Zhang et al., 2019). On the other hand, despite the evidenced effectiveness of Eastern medicine, many believe that it is merely a placebo effect that leads to more favorable health conditions (Zhang et al., 2019). Besides the differences in the outcomes, there are fundamental differences in how these two models approach the human body.

Western Model

Western model views the human organism as a physical entity. All issues that might occur within a person are caused by bodily conditions (Zhang et al., 2019). This idea is similar to reasoning about machines and vehicles – when a particular part is not working correctly, only that exact piece gets maintenance. This approach led to the advent of physical reductionism, which constrains all issues to be solely within the physical descriptions (Zhang et al., 2019). Doctors, in turn, prescribe mostly tangible solutions, such as pills. This model, founded on physical explanations, is not an inadequate notion of health. Many ideas from the Western model can be the only option in some circumstances, like emergencies (Zhang et al., 2019). An excellent example could be a doctor who has to initiate an immediate surgical intervention on some particular organ to save the person’s life, even if it implies long-term adverse effects.

Eastern Model

Eastern model, on the contrary, takes a more holistic approach to both viewing and healing the human body. It is one of the most ancient systems of healing, but only in the last several decades did the Western world become interested in the scientific justification of the effectiveness of its methods (Zhang et al., 2019). It is often labeled as “alternative medicine” because it views health not only from a physical perspective but also from an aspect of mind and spirit (Micozzi, 2019). Various herbs and oils are used to cure physical pain, and acupuncture is popular against emotional problems (Zhang et al., 2019). Eastern medicine has become well-known because there is no concern about negative synergies of it, unlike Western pharmaceuticals, with other medications. However, there are no scientific studies that would prove the efficacy of Eastern methods, and this fact causes skepticism among the Western scientific community.

Professional Presence

Most people choose to work in the nursing industry because they like caring about people. However, caring can take many forms, and the exact meaning of this word for a nurse is influenced by many factors, including the nurse’s personal beliefs and experience. My professional presence is very different than what Western approach offers. I believe that caring is not only analyzing patients’ conditions and prescribing medications but also sharing sentiments and providing emotional support. Since my early days, I had looked after my younger siblings and assisted my mother when they were sick. I firmly believe that motivation is essential when healing, and moral support is the ultimate source for patients’ motivation.

Influence of Professional Presence on My Nursing Practice

My professional presence may make me accomplish extra tasks most nurses are not responsible to do. Since emotional aid is usually in social workers’ responsibilities, I may spend additional resources in terms of time and energy by adding these commitments to a nurse’s agenda. I should also take appropriate courses, such as empathy and emotional intelligence, to be able to provide the mentioned services professionally without adverse implications.

Healing Environments

Healing environments should be pleasing both for patients and healthcare providers. To standardize the universal efforts of promoting healing conditions that are desirable to all parties, the Samueli Institute introduced the term Optimal Healing Environment (OHE) in 2004 (Sakallaris et al., 2015). The OHE framework consists of 4 interrelated environments – internal, interpersonal, behavioral, and external (Sakallaris et al., 2015). John Hopkins Hospital (JHH) in Maryland and the Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center (UCLA Health) in California are excellent examples of OHEs in the United States.

John Hopkins Hospital

JHH promotes healing intentions and personal wholeness, which are the two elements of the internal environment by providing places for meditation and mind-body therapy. Healing relationships are ensured by professional interpreters who are ready to support the understanding between patients and staff (Johns Hopkins Medicine, 2019). The medical center also provides opportunities for a healthy lifestyle – patients are able to request a tailored menu according to their needs (Johns Hopkins Medicine, 2019). Artworks on the walls and calm settings provide patients with necessary healing spaces.

Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center

UCLA Medicine takes almost the same approach as JHH in providing an optimal healing environment to its patients. There is a music service that helps patients relax, and personal wholeness is facilitated by meditation activities (UCLA Health, 2019). Healing relationships are created through a unique communication process called CICARE, which stands for “Connect, Introduce, Communicate, Ask, Respond, and Exit” (UCLA Health, 2019). Using this process, the medical staff can provide patient-specific care (UCLA Health, 2019). The center also provides nutrition assistance and a safe environment, which can withstand natural disasters.

Applying Insights

Since OHEs are as crucial for healing as medicine is for curing, I will apply the same principles at a micro level to facilitate the healing process. By targeting each of the environments of the OHE framework and systematically applying its concepts, I will provide holistic care to my patients. It will have a lasting impact on their lives because some of the principles, like the promotion of a healthy lifestyle, will have a positive influence even after hospital discharge.


The field of nursing theory in contemporary circumstances is very sophisticated and extensive. It is influenced by a vast majority of related disciplines, and new frameworks have been incorporated to promote more favorable patient outcomes. These new concepts are based on the various notions of human health and healing. The application of these theories by practicing nurses will provide holistic care to patients and significantly enhance their health outcomes.


Johns Hopkins Medicine. (2019). About Johns Hopkins Medicine. Web.

Micozzi, M. S. (2019). Fundamentals of complementary, alternative, and integrative medicine (6th ed.). St. Louis, MO: Elsevier.

UCLA Health. (2019). Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center. Web.

Sakallaris, B. R., Macallister, L., Voss, M., Smith, K., & Jonas, W. B. (2015). Optimal healing environments. Global Advances in Health and Nedicine, 4(3), 40-45.

Swinton, J., Kelly, E., Swift, C., Cobb, M., & Todd, A. (2015). Contextual Issues: Health and healing. In C. Swift, M. Cobb, A. Todd (Eds.), A Handbook of Chaplaincy Studies: Understanding Spiritual Care in Public Places, 175-85.

Zhang, M., Moalin, M., Vervoort, L., Li, Z. W., Wu, W. B., & Haenen, G. (2019). Connecting Western and Eastern medicine from an energy perspective. International Journal of Molecular Sciences, 20(6), 1512.