Keck Medical Center of USC has expanded the Keck Professional Program to the nursing staff, administrators announced recently. A Sept. 3 memo from Annette Sy, DNP, RN, chief nursing officer of Keck Medical Center, detailed the program’s inaugural expansion that will enable nursing staff to strengthen relationships with coworkers and continue to provide the highest quality of care to patients and their families.

Keck Medical Center joins University of Iowa Health Care and Vanderbilt University Medical Center in this endeavor, which will be led by Gerald B. Hickson, MD, of Vanderbilt’s Center for Patient and Professionalism Advocacy. Hickson has spent 30 years researching why some providers attract a disproportionate share of claims and how to identify and effectively intervene with these providers.

Keck Medicine of USC worked with Vanderbilt University to start the Keck Professionalism Program for physicians in 2016 — grounded by its pillars of excellence, judgment, civility and respect. These are qualities long demonstrated in the exceptional daily care Keck Medical Center nurses provide, Sy wrote in the memo. “But, occasionally we all encounter behaviors that undermine a culture of safety. This program is an opportunity to address unprofessional behavior and promote accountability.”

The professionalism program is predicated on the concept of self-reflection and self-correction, Sy wrote. When coworker complaints are submitted, peer messengers are empowered to share the incident with the person named, rather than it being raised to the attention of managers or supervisors — keeping it non-punitive and off the record. Vanderbilt’s years of research show that 80% of these people will self-correct when given the chance.

“This outcome is consistent with what we have seen occur at Keck Medical Center and USC Care Medical Group over the past three years,” Sy wrote. “During this time, more than 225 cups of coffee have been delivered to 170 physicians. Of these physicians, 78% self-corrected and never made it to Level 1 of the professionalism pyramid. Because of this, we are confident that implementing the professionalism program into nursing will significantly improve our organization, and are proud to say that 68 staff members have already been trained as peer messengers.”

For more information about the Keck Professionalism Program, click here.