HopeHealth and the University of Rhode Island graduate first nursing fellows in palliative care

South Kingstown, RI — Earlier this month, University of Rhode Island nursing students Becca Allder and Katie Fitzmaurice graduated from a summer of clinical training and practice in one of healthcare’s fastest-growing fields, becoming the inaugural fellows of the Susan Flynn Palliative Care Nursing Fellowship.

The fellowship is a new partnership between HopeHealth, the University of Rhode Island College of Nursing and the Susan Flynn Oncology Nursing Development Program aimed at addressing the growing need for nurses with experience in palliative care.

Palliative care focuses on caring for patients living with serious illnesses like cancer, heart ailments and respiratory conditions—helping them live with less discomfort from their symptoms, and access special support to improve their quality of life. As medical advances allow more and more patients to live with serious illness, the field is rapidly expanding in the U.S. The need for nurses with palliative care experience is expanding along with it.

That’s where the Susan Flynn Palliative Care Nursing Fellowship comes in. Over eight weeks, Allder and Fitzmaurice shadowed HopeHealth’s palliative care experts and met with multidisciplinary teams. They also researched and reviewed clinical practice and literature supporting topics that are critical to patients and families receiving palliative care. As fellows in the program, they prepared and delivered evidence-based research presentations on the influence of comfort feeding on patient quality of life, and the impact of respite care for pediatric palliative patients.

“Palliative care is committed to providing person-centered care that is based on the seriously ill person’s and family’s beliefs, values, and goals,” says Susan DeSanto-Madeya, PhD, APRN-CNS, FAAN, who holds the Miriam Weyker Endowed Chair for Palliative Care at the URI College of Nursing. “This fellowship is a powerful way to advance that commitment for future generations of nurses, thanks to hands-on experience with a leading team of experts.”

The Susan Flynn Palliative Care Nursing Fellowship is the most recent expansion of the Susan Flynn Oncology Nursing Development Program, founded by Fred Flynn in honor of the care that his late wife, Susan, received after a diagnosis of ovarian cancer. The program’s namesake oncology fellowship, created in 2014, has already produced 262 oncology nursing fellows from more than 10 hospitals.

Now, Allder and Fitzmaurice join their ranks as the program’s first two palliative nursing fellows.

“The more we can educate and inspire future nurses about palliative care, the better quality of life we give to a growing population of patients,” says HopeHealth President & CEO Diana Franchitto. “As a regional leader in palliative care, HopeHealth is uniquely positioned to do just that. It was a privilege to be part of the experience of our first two fellows and show them firsthand what a difference palliative care makes in the lives of patients and families living with serious illness.”


About HopeHealth
For more than a century, HopeHealth has provided high quality, compassionate care to people in various stages of illness in Rhode Island and Massachusetts. Its roots began in home care in 1908 and then in hospice in 1976, coming together as HopeHealth in 2011 as a provider of home care, palliative care and hospice care. As the second oldest hospice in the country and one of the largest not-for-profit providers of palliative and hospice care in New England, HopeHealth has set the gold standard in serious illness and end-of-life care. HopeHealth is the major teaching affiliate for hospice and palliative care of The Warren Alpert Medical School of Brown University.

About University of Rhode Island
The University of Rhode Island is a competitive and highly regarded public institution with a global reach. Founded in 1892, the University is the premier public flagship research and graduate institution in Rhode Island, with an enrollment of about 15,000 undergraduate and more than 2,270 graduate students. At URI, you will find some of today’s leading innovators, discoverers, and creative problem solvers.

The University is known regionally and worldwide for its big ideas and pioneering research in ocean science and engineering, health, and environmental sciences, with a strong core of traditional academic disciplines that provide the foundation for all specialized, professional, and applied areas of study. At URI, you will find some of today’s leading innovators, discoverers, and creative problem solvers.

Earlier this year, U.S. News & World Report ranked the University’s College of Nursing master’s program 45th in the nation, placing it among the top graduate nursing programs in the country.

About Susan Flynn Oncology Nursing Development Program, Inc.
This nonprofit’s mission is to attract, inspire, and help professionally develop the next generation of oncology nurses with the goal of improving the quality of care for future cancer patients and their families. It was founded in 2014 by Fred Flynn in memory of his late wife Susan, who died of ovarian cancer in 2013. Since then, 262 aspiring oncology nurses have completed the fellowship program — addressing an important workforce development gap for hospitals, many of which struggle to identify and attract trained oncology nurses. Learn more about this unique program and how you can support it at https://sdfondp.com.

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