The Synergy Model for Patient Care, developed by the American Association of Critical Care Nurses, has been adopted by the faculty and integrated into the undergraduate and graduate nursing curriculums. The core concept of the Synergy Model is that the needs or characteristics of patients and families influence the characteristics or competencies of the nurse. Synergy results when the needs and characteristics of a patient, clinical unit or system match those of the nurse.

The Synergy Model describes eight patient characteristics (needs) and eight nurse characteristics (competencies); patient needs drive nurse competencies. Each individual characteristic is further delineated by levels of complexity or intensity. The core competencies of the nurse include clinical judgment, advocacy, clinical practices, collaboration, systems thinking, response to diversity, clinical inquiry and facilitation of learning. These eight competencies provide the basis for program and level outcomes in the undergraduate program. An additional ninth program/level outcome focuses on the synergy between the nurse's competencies and patient characteristics as it relates to patient outcomes. Similarly, the graduate program outcomes are based on these same nurse characteristics but at a higher level. Underlying all competencies is the unique contribution of nurses to provide safe passage for patients and their families through the health care environment.

The table below illustrates the relationship between nurse competencies of the Synergy Model and the MSN program outcomes.

Nurse Competencies Program Outcomes
Clinical Judgment Integrate clinical judgment skills when implementing care for individuals, families, groups and community.
Advocacy Justify one’s practice through the implementation of the role of being a moral agent.
Caring Practices Display a caring attitude in all aspects of one’s practice.
Collaboration Initiate collaborative efforts for the improvement of care to individuals and for improvement in the health care delivery.
Systems Thinking Demonstrate the ability to utilize integrated systems analysis for the personal and professional navigation of the health care delivery systems.
Response to Diversity Integrate cultural sensitivity in caring for individuals/families of diverse populations.
Clinical Inquiry Engage in evidence-based practice.
Facilitation of Learning Incorporate teaching into all aspects of one’s practice.
Impact of “Synergy” Nurse/Patient Characteristics and Patient Outcomes Evaluate the interrelationship of nurse competencies and the patient characteristics to patient outcomes.