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Healthy Focus Magazine


The Western Pennsylvania Hospital
4800 Friendship Avenue
Pittsburgh, PA 15224


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West Penn Hospital



to the "Nursing at West Penn" website, created by nurses at The Western Pennsylvania Hospital to describe excellence in patient care and service and to highlight the professional development opportunities and professional achievements of our nurses.

West Penn Hospital's Nursing Division is most proud of the Hospital's Sept. 14, 2012, Magnet Recognition Program® redesignation.  The Western Pennsylvania Hospital was the first in Pittsburgh and western Pennsylvania to earn Magnet® status from the American Nurses Credentialing Center and the first and currently the only hospital to be redesignated.  Only about 6% of US hospitals have achieved this prestigious internationally recognized designation for nursing excellence!

For more information:

For more information:

Jacqueline Collavo, MA, BSN, RN, NE-BC, Director
Nursing Operations and Magnet Recognition Program®



West Penn Hospital is the first hospital in Pittsburgh and Western Pennsylvania to achieve Magnet™ recognition status from the American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC), a worldwide recognition for excellence in nursing that has been earned by only about 6% of US healthcare facilities.

About Nursing at West Penn

Nurses at The Western Pennsylvania Hospital take pride in providing the highest-quality, patient-focused care in state-of-the-art facilities.  We work closely with physicians and other staff to help each patient/family achieve their optimal health goals.  We seek to advance professionally and contribute to the health of our communities near and far.

Nursing practice at The Western Pennsylvania Hospital is based on the theory framework of Imogene King and on the American Association of Critical-Care Nurses (AACN's) Synergy Model for Patient Care, as described in the following Cover Story from the Winter 2010-2011 (vol. 15, no. 2) issue of Professional Paradigms, the Nursing Division's peer-reviewed professional nursing journal:

Synergy and Nursing Professional Practice

By Jacqueline A. Collavo, BSN, RN,NE-BC, Director, Magnet Recognition Program®, The Western Pennsylvania Hospital

Today’s nurses must continually focus on best practices and nursing excellence. As The Western Pennsylvania Hospital (WPH) continues to pursue Magnet re-designation, all nurses must become familiar with our professional practice model (PPM). This article explains our PPM, which incorporates concepts of the AACN (American Association of Critical-Care Nurses) Synergy Model for Patient Care as well as principles of Imogene King into our established procedures for authority and accountability for clinical decision-making and outcomes.

The PPM (Professional Practice Model)
Nursing professional practice at The Western Pennsylvania Hospital is organized and operationalized through our shared governance model and professional practice model to ensure that decision-making involves all levels of nurses, from individual staff nurses to departments, to management and leadership. Staff input is valued and carefully considered in policy development, standards of care, and all decisions that affect patient care delivery. Additionally, staff nurse involvement regarding decisions concerning professional development opportunities; retention, recognition, and rewards; quality of work life, relationships with physicians and other members of the healthcare team; and overall job satisfaction is carefully considered in all aspects of decision-making.

Nurses are valued for their dedication and commitment to best practices and for their contributions to quality patient care outcomes. Nurses are supported with resources, educational opportunities, and career advancement opportunities, and they are recognized as integral decision-makers with the ability to impact patient care. The nursing management team supports and believes that coaching, mentoring, and professional development opportunities are integral components of leadership and that the nursing leadership team should be visible and accessible and encourage open communication and collaborative working relationships with all nurses at all levels.

Nurses at The Western Pennsylvania Hospital practice:

  • within the scope of the Pennsylvania Nurse Practice Act and other regulatory constraints (e.g. The Joint Commission),
  • within the health system’s and The Western Pennsylvania Hospital’s mission, vision, values, and organizational structures, and
  • according to the Nursing Division’s:
    • Mission, Values and Beliefs,
    • Organizational Structure,
    • Shared Governance Model (Management Approach, Professional Relationships, and  Professional Development and Achievements),
    • Professional Practice Model, and
    • Care Delivery Systems.

These five components create a synergistic environment in which the patient is central and the nurse has autonomy and accountability for decision-making and works with the entire healthcare team collaboratively and collegially to promote positive patient outcomes, within the framework of the organization’s and the Nursing Division’s mission, vision/values/beliefs, and organizational structure.

When developing our Professional Practice Model (PPM), nurses at The Western Pennsylvania Hospital (WPH) studied and incorporated principles from the AACN (American Association of Critical-Care Nurses) Synergy Model for Patient Care and our theorist Imogene King.

Principles of the AACN Synergy Model for Patient Care
The AACN Synergy Model for Patient Care “is a conceptual framework describing a patient-nurse relationship that acknowledges the primary importance of nursing care based on the needs of patients and their families. The fundamental premise of the Synergy Model is that patients’ characteristics drive nurse competencies. When patient characteristics and nurse competencies are in synergy, optimal patient outcomes are more likely to occur.”

There are eight (8) patient characteristics and eight (8) nurse competencies. The eight patient characteristics span the continuum from health to illness. Similarly, the eight nurse competencies span the continuum of skill levels from competent to expert. The eight domains of each are as follows: 

Patient Characteristics Nurse Competencies
1 Stability 1 Clinical judgment
2 Complexity 2 Clinical inquiry
3 Vulnerability 3 Caring practices
4 Predictability 4 Response to diversity
5 Resiliency 5 Advocacy/moral agency
6 Participation in decision-making 6 Facilitation of learning
7 Participation in care 7 Collaboration
8 Resource availability 8 Systems thinking

In the synergy model, when the skills of the nurse are matched with the needs of the patient, the care is “synergized” and optimal patient outcomes are achieved.

The Western Pennsylvania Hospital Nursing Division used a free-domain '8-point star' symbol to represent synergy in our Professional Practice Model schematic.  We have also used this symbol in our Care Delivery System (CDS) model schematic, which will be a feature article in the next issue of Professional Paradigms, and in educational materials and presentations.

Synergy theory is an appropriate foundation, in addition to the principles of our values and beliefs, for our PPM in that the patient is central to all that the nurse does and the nurse acts synergistically with other nurses and healthcare team members to achieve positive patient outcomes.

The professional and collegial relationships among WPH caregivers are critical to achieving positive outcomes for our patients. Nurses are integral to the 24/7 clinical care provided to the patient. However, the nurse does not practice in isolation. Teamwork, collaboration, consultation, and communication are key elements of the professional nurse’s relationships at WPH. The nurse works synergistically with the healthcare team as an advocate for the patient/family and each other to utilize best practices and achieve positive outcomes.

The healthcare team is composed of nurses, physicians, and many other healthcare providers, both licensed and unlicensed. No one entity can provide care for our patients without the others. The patient is the center of care decision-making, with the professional nurse serving as the patient/family advocate and coordinator of care. The professional nurse is the link for communications among all healthcare team members. The nurse collaborates with every other healthcare team member as an advocate for each patient. Consultation with various members of the healthcare team is encouraged in order to ensure that standards of care are maintained and that quality outcomes are achieved.

The Western Pennsylvania Hospital Nursing Division’s professional practice model, as most recently evaluated and modified (May 2012), is represented schematically as follows:

Jacqueline Collavo, RN, can be reached at jcollavo@wpahs.org or 412.578.5205.

About Professional Paradigms

The Western Pennsylvania Hospital Nursing Division has been publishing its own peer-reviewed professional nursing journal, Professional Paradigms, since 1994.

The journal has evolved into an award-winning 4-color publication that is staff-nurse led, as described in the poster "A Journal for Nurses by Nurses: Mentoring Staff to Captain the Publication Ship" by Jacqueline Collavo, BSN, RN, NE-BC, Nursing Director, and Kari Smith, BSN, RN, OCN®,, Clinical Coordinator, West Penn Cancer Institute, and 2011 Chair, Professional Paradigms Committee.  The poster was accepted and presented at the Southwestern Pennsylvania Organization of Nurse Leaders (SWPONL) 2010 Conference in Farmington, Pa., at the Pennsylvania Organization of Nurse Leaders (PONL)2011 Conference held Oct. 26 and 27, 2011, at the Crowne Plaza in Harrisburg, Pa., and presented at the 2011 National Magnet® Conference in Baltimore, Md.

Winter 2010-11 issue (PDF)

Summer 2011 issue (PDF)


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