USC Nursing Institute launched to promote education, leadership and excellence among nurses

Keck Medicine of USC has launched the USC Nursing Institute to promote education, leadership development, clinical expertise and research among nurses. 

The institute will support nurses across the health system's four hospitals and more than 100 clinic locations to ensure nurses have access to the tools, education and training to provide exceptional patient care, facilitate collaboration and encourage career growth and leadership opportunities. 

Nurses are the backbone of our health system. The USC Nursing Institute supports a culture of excellence where nurses feel empowered to expand their skill set, collaborate with colleagues from different specialties and leverage their impressive talents."

Deborah "Debbie" McCoy, MS, RN, NEA-BC, executive director of the USC Nursing Institute

Keck Medicine employs approximately 4,000 nurses, which include registered and licensed vocational nurses; nurse scientists; and advanced practice nurses, including clinical nurse specialists, nurse practitioners, certified nurse anesthetists, certified nurse midwives and registered nurse first assists. 

In the first year, the USC Nursing Institute will focus on supporting nurse-driven clinical and scientific research. The institute has created a research council which will host the first-ever nursing symposium in summer 2024 to showcase Keck Medicine nurses' work in the areas of performance improvement, evidence-based practice and research. 

The institute will also provide nurses with opportunities to advance their academic degrees, certifications and specialty training. 

"Keck Medicine of USC recognizes the importance of investing in our nurses as they provide highly specialized and compassionate patient care at the highest levels," said Annette Sy, DNP, RN, NE-BC, chief nursing executive officer of Keck Medical Center of USC, which includes Keck Hospital of USC and USC Norris Cancer Hospital. 

The institute will supplement already prestigious Keck Medicine nursing services. In 2023, Keck Hospital of USC achieved redesignation from the American Nurses Credentialing Center's (ANCC) Magnet Recognition program, which recognizes nursing excellence and the highest standards of patient care. 

Additionally, in 2022 and 2023, the USC Verdugo Hills Hospital (USC-VHH) emergency department received the prestigious Lantern Award from the Emergency Nurses Association, which recognizes those who demonstrate exceptional and innovative performance in leadership, practice, education, advocacy and research. In 2024, the hospital received its first-ever Practice Transition Accreditation Program accreditation from the ANCC for its nurse residency program, which helps transition novice nurses into clinical practice. The hospital's intensive care unit also received the Beacon Award for Excellence from the American Association of Critical-Care Nurses. 

Keck Medicine's Council of Chief Nursing Officers, which includes McCoy, Sy and chief nursing officers for Keck Hospital, USC Norris, USC-VHH and USC Arcadia Hospital, will oversee the institute. 

"The USC Nursing Institute offers professional nurses from across the health system the opportunity to work in collaboration with nurse leaders as they continue to build upon their essential and expansive role in patient care," said Theresa Murphy, RN, MSHCA, CENP, chief nursing officer of USC-VHH. "We look forward to seeing our dedicated nurses reap the benefits of these additional resources." 

Looking to the future, the USC Nursing Institute hopes to create a simulation lab, which will provide an immersive learning experience to help nurses practice new skills, and to collaborate with nursing schools to build and nurture community relationships. 

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