Information needs studies in clinical settings often face the problem of integrating and analyzing data collected using different study tools. Generally, a coding taxonomy or a model is developed to capture and code the study data. Significant efforts are required to develop a model that not only captures the study data but is also closer to the clinical domain to draw meaningful real world inferences. Further, a study-specific model limits comparative evaluation of studies across different institutions. In this paper, we propose a reference model for representing nursing information needs. We use an iterative and collaborative approach in representing the concepts in the model. The model consists of 33 information (need) concepts, 29 information sources and 7 categories of nursing tasks which were used to code 228 identified information need instances. © 2006 The authors and IOS Press. All rights reserved.