Synergy for Patient Safety and Quality: Academic and Service Partnerships to Promote Effective Nurse Education and Clinical Practice

Gregory A. DeBourgh, University of San Francisco


Responding to the growing concern about medical error and patient harm, nurse educators are seeking innovative strategies to ensure that nursing students develop the knowledge, skills, and attitudes that enable them to safely and effectively manage patient care. A nursing school and hospital affiliate engaged in a partnership to increase opportunities for students to acquire these competencies. The Synergy Partnership Model aligns agency safety and quality initiatives with the school's student outcome competencies. The partnership model establishes participant commitment, clarifies professional actions and accountabilities, and structures the integration of student learning with the clinical practice of agency nurses and physicians. A collection of evidence-based, best-practices resources provides students, faculties, and staff the tools to implement the partnership paradigm. A descriptive pilot study design with a convenience sample of students (N = 24) enrolled in a third-semester, prelicensure clinical nursing course measured students' safety and quality knowledge and the students' perceptions of team behaviors and communication effectiveness. Survey data reveal moderate to large effect sizes in gains for safety and quality knowledge and for students' increased confidence in their impact on patient care outcomes.