Providence Health & Services, with more than 3,500 nurses in its Los Angeles-area hospitals and other healthcare centers, is creating a Nursing Institute to advance quality patient care through professional development, education, technology and research.
The Providence Southern California Nursing Institute will serve as a training ground for nursing graduate residents, established nurses and other clinicians at Providence medical centers and ancillary services. And it will promote nurse-led research to further improve patient care.
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The program is the vision of Katherine Bullard, R.N., regional chief nursing officer for Providence in Southern California. A core team of nurses, under program director Kathleen Harren, R.N., is laying the foundation for the institute and expects to begin operations in the spring.
“We want to inspire excellence through innovation and empower our nurses and other professionals to expand their abilities and their horizons,” Bullard said. “Across the nation, healthcare organizations are looking for innovative programs like this institute to enhance the roles of our profession.”
Providence’s medical centers are dedicated to quality and compassionate care, Bullard said. Many of the hospitals’ clinical programs rank among the nation’s best, according to a recent study by HealthGrades, a leading independent healthcare ratings organization. The Nursing Institute will highlight the successes and incorporate them across the Southern California region.
“Our goal is to have uniform evidence-based practices across all our ministries in Southern California to ensure the best care for our patients,” Harren said. “One of our first steps is to identify our successes. If something works well at our hospital in San Pedro, we will adapt that practice at our hospital in Tarzana. It’s about applying best practices to advance the science of nursing, which will improve outcomes for patients.”
Harren is the former chief nursing officer at Providence Little Company of Mary Medical Center Torrance where she obtained grants for education and training programs that utilize simulations to help nurses and other team members practice and develop skills, decision-making processes and critical thinking abilities without risk to actual patients.
Organizers are working with the Providence foundations and private philanthropists to raise money for scholarship programs for nurses and grants for programs that would include training in simulated settings and teaching new technologies.
“We hope to establish a regular simulation center where we can expand our technology-based learning capabilities,” Harren said. “We envision team-based, inter-professional and inter-disciplinary learning to broaden our approach to training and actual patient care.”
Other facets of the program include streamlining education for nurses and other clinicians and broadening research projects conducted by nurses.
“Nurses are on the front-line of health care and are in the best situations to lead and work as teams to apply new ideas, track the data and determine what works to enhance care,” Harren said. “Our nurses are excited about this, about expanding their opportunities and taking on new challenges.”