Webster1 defines a corollary as “something that naturally follows” from something else. When I consider the American Association for Critical-Care Nurses (AACN) Synergy Model for Patient Care with a clinician’s eye, I can immediately see the relevance and elegance of its central characteristic—that is, that optimal patient care can best be achieved when the patient’s characteristics (expressed as needs) are matched by the nurse’s characteristics (expressed as competencies). Because the patient and nurse interact within a healthcare system that both possesses and exhibits its own attributes, a third component of the model needs to be recognized that could affect outcomes in either or both of the other components (Figure 1).

When I view the Synergy Model from a staff development perspective, however, my mind’s eye can quickly reconfigure 2 components of this triad—transforming Nurse to Preceptor and Patient to Preceptee—and then readily appreciate the relevance and elegance of its corollary attribute; that is, that optimal orientation of the preceptee can best be achieved when the preceptee’s characteristics (expressed as needs) are matched by the preceptor’s characteristics (expressed as competencies). Just as the patient and nurse interact within the healthcare system, the same holds true for the preceptee and preceptor, recreating a parallel triad of interacting components that could affect outcomes in the orientation process (Figure 2).

If the Synergy Model is transferable from patient care to preceptorship, the natural extensions of this model should evidence some degree of comparability and continuity throughout the major tenets of the model; for example, basic assumptions underlying the model and the respective sets of nurse (preceptor) and patient (preceptee) characteristics. In this Editorial, I will offer a proposed application for only the first of these structural beliefs.

The Synergy Model is rooted in a total of 9 assumptions. The first 5 were identified in 20002 and the last 4 were added by the AACN Certification Corporation3 a few years later. Most of these assumptions relate to the patient and/or the nurse, although the hospital system is addressed directly and indirectly in others. If this model can legitimately apply to a preceptorship, many, most, or all of the same set of assumptions should hold true. The TableT1 identifies the 9 assumptions upon which the Synergy Model of Patient Care is based and offers a preliminary set of corollary assumptions that might be proposed for the preceptorship format of orientation.

Before suggesting any additional applications of the Synergy Model to preceptorship, I’d like to solicit your reactions, critique, and suggestions related to this initial proposal; that is, that the basic assumptions underlying AACN’s Synergy Model of Patient Care can be applied with comparable relevance to describe basic assumptions that underlie a synergy that can be achieved in the relationship between a nurse preceptor and preceptee.

Please send your thoughts (reactions, critique, suggestions) on this (whether the Synergy Model’s assumptions are transferable to Preceptorship) no later than June 15, 2006, to Grif at synergy_assumptions@comcast.net.

Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary. Available at: http://www.m-w.com/cgi-bin/dictionary?va=corollary. Accessed February 14,
American Association of Critical-Care Nurses. Standards for Acute and Critical Care Nursing Practice. 3rd ed. Aliso Viejo, Calif: American Association of Critical-Care Nurses;
Muenzen PM, Greenburg S, Pirrol KA. Final Report of a Comprehensive Study of Critical Care Nursing Practice. Available at: http://www.certcorp.org/certcorp/certcorp.nsf/certcorp/ccrn?opendocument#Role%20Delineation%20%2F%20CCRN%20Validatio_1. Accessed February 14,