Conceptual Framework

The curriculum flows logically from the conceptual framework originally developed by the American Association of Critical Care Nurses (AACN). The Synergy Model suggests that patient outcomes are enhanced when the nurses' competencies are compatible with the characteristics or needs of the patient. When applied in the educational system, the center of attention for the model is the students and their learning. In the academic environment, developmental needs of the students are advanced when faculty competencies are aligned with the learning needs of nursing students. The competencies of the nurse identified in the model are those the faculty envisions as essential to the success of the nurses' interventions. Underlying all of the nurses' competencies is the unique contribution of nurses to provide "safe passage" for patients and their families through the health care environment. According to Curly (1998) these competencies are:

  • Clinical judgment - Clinical reasoning that underpins decision-making in clinical practice includes the assessment of given patient care situations and nursing skill.
  • Advocacy and moral agency - Representing the interests of the "other" and identifying and working to manage or explain ethical and clinical concerns. This dimension acknowledges the unique trust inherent in the nurse/patient relationship.
  • Caring practices - Constellation of nursing activities that are responsive to the uniqueness of the patient, family, group and community and create therapeutic environment. Caring practices include vigilance, engagement and responsiveness.
  • Facilitation of learning - Ability to use self to maximize patients' learning.
  • Collaboration - Working with others to promote and encourage each person's contribution to achieving optimal goals for the patient. This includes intradisciplinary and interdisciplinary work.
  • Systems thinking - Appreciating the care environment and the interrelationships within and across health care systems.
  • Response to diversity - Sensitive to recognize, appreciate and incorporate differences between and among people along multiple dimensions in the provision of care.
  • Clinical inquiry - Process of questioning and evaluating practice, assessing evidence base of practice and innovating through research and learning.

BSN Program Outcomes

At the completion of the nursing program (all pathways to a BSN), the student:

Integrates clinical judgment skills when implementing care for individuals, families, groups and community.

  • Analyzes one's clinical judgment skills when implementing care for individuals, families and groups.
  • Demonstrates clinical judgment skills when implementing care for individuals.
  • Explains the meaning of, and necessity for, using clinical judgment skills in one's professional role.

Role models ethical, legal and professional standards into one's professional nursing practice when acting as a moral agent.

  • Engages in ethical decision-making.
  • Practices within the ethical and legal framework of one's profession.
  • Differentiates between the ethical and the legal aspects of one's profession.

Displays a caring attitude in all aspects of one's practice.

  • Integrates caring into all aspects of one's practice.
  • Initiates caring behaviors with self and others.
  • Expresses the importance of caring to professional practice.

Institutes collaborative efforts for the improvement of care to individuals/families and communities.

  • Engages in collaboration with others in planning and implementing care.
  • Describes the meaning of collaboration for the improvement of health care.
  • Identifies the meaning of collaborative care to one's practice.

Demonstrates the ability to utilize integrated systems analysis for personal and professional navigation of the health care delivery systems.

  • Examines the use of various strategies within the system that can be used to improve patient outcomes.
  • Explains how changes in the system can affect patient outcomes.
  • Identifies the meaning of a systems-thinking approach.

Integrates culturally congruent care in caring for individuals/families of diverse populations.

  • Implements care in a culturally sensitive manner with all persons.
  • Illustrates examples of culturally sensitive care.
  • Describes the meaning of cultural sensitivity.

Engages in evidence-based practice.

  • Interprets the research process methodology as it is related to sound practice.
  • Gives examples of research-based practice.
  • Explains the meaning of clinical inquiry to a profession.

Incorporates teaching/learning process into all aspects of one's practice.

  • Engages in the development of teaching plans to promote the health of patients, groups and communities.
  • Explains the teaching/learning process.
  • Discusses the relationship of teaching to health promotion.

Participates in ongoing educational activities that enhance professional growth and improve health care.

  • Identifies extracurricular opportunities to enhance professional development.
  • Articulates the benefits of engagement in activities that support professional development.
  • Utilizes best practices in improving the health of individuals, groups and communities.

Utilizes evolving information technologies to enhance professional nursing practice.

  • Utilizes technology in academic and clinical settings.
  • Participates in analysis of ethical considerations when using technology.
  • Demonstrates competencies in the use of technology in the clinical setting.

Communicates effectively both verbally and in writing to all individuals and groups.

  • Incorporates major communication theories in all interactions.
  • Analyzes factors that promote/interfere with effective communication.
  • Examines the major principles of therapeutic communication.

Uses leadership abilities to influence professional nursing practice.

  • Examine nursing leadership roles.
  • Apply the principles of leadership in clinical environments.
  • Participate in interprofessional collaboration to influence efficiency of health care services.

Evaluates the interrelationship of nurse competencies and the patient characteristics to patient outcomes.

  • Utilizes the unique strengths of the patient characteristics and the nurse competencies to affect patient outcomes.
  • Examines the interrelationship of nurse competencies and the patient characteristics to patient outcomes.
  • States the patient outcomes and the nurse competencies.

Demonstrates behaviors that are congruent with the School of Nursing Code of Conduct, Student Handbook, the ANA Code of Ethics, Scope and Standards of Practice Policy Statement and Social Policy Statement in all class-related interactions.

  • Is prompt for clinical and skills lab activities.
  • Practices within appropriate scope of practice.
  • Is adequately prepared for clinical with understanding of patient diagnosis, medications and usual patient needs.
  • Follows through on plan of care and instructions from faculty and staff.
  • Submits written materials on time and completed in a scholarly manner.
  • Demonstrates self-direction and initiative in own learning process.
  • Maintains confidentiality of clients and units.
  • Participates thoughtfully in self-evaluation process.
  • Seeks and/or thoughtfully considers constructive feedback.
  • Accepts responsibility for own actions and judgments in the provision of care.
  • Professional interactions are respectful and valuing of others, consistent with the Code of Ethics for Nurses.