A nursing unit at Keck Hospital of USC recently was recognized by Keck Medicine of USC for its efforts and commitment to the elimination of preventable patient harm incidents and for improving the quality of patient care.

The nurses and staff on the 6 North Orthopaedic unit of the hospital have not had a preventable patient harm event in more than one year. Preventable harm events include hospital-acquired infections or conditions, or medication errors resulting from or attributed to medical care. The medical staff in the unit said great teamwork has helped them prevent such occurrences.

“Our secret is teamwork,” said Kathleen Coe, RN, MSN, nurse manager of the unit. “My staff comes from all over the place just to work here because of how well we all work together. This is an extension of my family, that’s how much I care about everyone on the team.”

Coe said conducting daily audits, real-time correction of issues and holding daily huddles with the staff before each shift are an instrumental part of their accomplishments. She also said they provide patient and family education, and the bottom line is that great communication and realizing it takes all of the team — not just one person — is what it takes to ensure there aren’t any preventable harm events in their unit.

The 6 North team credits Coe for their cohesiveness.

“The people hired on this unit are a reflection of our manager Kathy,” explained Tony Cheung, a nurse practitioner. “It’s easy to work with people who think the same way as you. We all have common goals and believe in coming to work and providing good care for our patients with the goal of providing them with a good experience.”

In addition to teamwork, the unit credits hard work and dedication to ensure exceptional patient care, and they give credit to the physicians who partner with them for infection control. A celebratory breakfast was held in the unit and the team was presented with a plaque they plan to display on the floor.

— L. Alexis Young