Providence Health & Services, with three hospitals in the Valley and more than 3,500 nurses in its Los Angeles-area hospitals and health care centers, is creating a Nursing Institute to advance quality patient care through professional development, education, technology and research, the hospital announced.

The Providence Southern California Nursing Institute will serve as a training ground for nursing graduate residents, established nurses and other clinicians at Providence health care facilities. The institute will also promote nurse-led research to improve patient care.

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.

The institute’s goal is to have “uniform, evidence-based practices across all our ministries in Southern California,” Harren said in a statement. “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.”

Among other things, the institute plans to raise grant money to establish a simulation center to expand technology-based learning. The institute also hopes to work to streamline nursing education and broaden research projects that are conducted by nurses.

Providence operates three acute care medical centers in the San Fernando Valley, including Providence Saint Joseph Medical Center in Burbank, Providence Holy Cross Medical Center in Mission Hills and Providence Tarzana Medical Center.