Become a Volunteer Join HopeHealth in Massachusetts as a pet therapy or music volunteer! Spread love and comfort to those in need. Learn more.

University of Rhode Island and HopeHealth partner on new palliative nursing fellowship

University of Rhode Island and HopeHealth partner on new palliative nursing fellowship


South Kingstown, RI -- The University of Rhode Island (URI) and HopeHealth have partnered to support aspiring nurses in one of health care’s fastest-growing specialties: palliative care. The two organizations were selected to pilot the Susan D. Flynn Palliative Care Nursing Fellowship, which launched its inaugural summer session on June 6, 2022. The fellowship is facilitated, awarded, and funded by the Susan D. Flynn Oncology Nursing Development Program.

Thanks to continued medical advances, more people of all ages are living with serious illnesses like cancer, respiratory conditions and heart ailments. Palliative care focuses on optimizing quality of life for these patients and their families – including advanced symptom management along with emotional and spiritual support. The specialty has grown rapidly in the U.S., from a presence in only 7% of hospitals in 2001 to more than 72% of hospitals today.

As a result, there is a huge need, and opportunity, for nurses with experience in palliative care. URI and HopeHealth designed the Flynn Palliative Care Nursing Fellowship curriculum to give nursing students the hands-on training they need.

“The Flynn Palliative Care Nurse Fellowship is a perfect partnership for URI and HopeHealth,” says Susan DeSanto-Madeya, PhD, APRN-CNS, FAAN, who holds the Miriam Weyker Endowed Chair for Palliative Care at the URI College of Nursing. “HopeHealth has long been at the forefront of delivering compassionate, high-quality palliative care in our region. The URI College of Nursing is a critical talent pipeline for area hospitals. By coming together to support aspiring palliative nurses, we can advance how this care is delivered – improving the lives of countless patients and families.”

The 2022 Flynn Palliative Care Nursing Fellowship has been awarded to two rising seniors in the nursing program at URI. Over six weeks, they will spend time alongside HopeHealth’s veteran nurses on clinical rotations in a number of settings, including the inpatient HopeHealth Hulitar Hospice Center in Providence, RI and home care with HopeHealth Visiting Nurse. Among other aspects of their curriculum, they will shadow patient visits, participate in team rounds, and meet with the many experts who make up a palliative care team, from social workers to chaplaincy and grief counselors.

student nurse in scrubs jacket standing in front of an ocean view
Becca Allder, 2022 Flynn Palliative Care Nursing Fellow
student nurse in scrubs jacket standing in front of an ocean view
Katherine Fitzmaurice, 2022 Flynn Palliative Care Nursing Fellow

“When it comes to any kind of nursing education, there is nothing more valuable than firsthand, real-life experience,” says Dr. DeSanto-Madeya. “By giving Flynn Fellows an immersive experience in HopeHealth’s palliative nursing, we’re giving them the clinical exposure and skills to be the best of the best.”

“We’re thrilled that HopeHealth has this opportunity to educate and inspire palliative nursing’s rising stars,” says HopeHealth President & CEO Diana Franchitto. “Every day at HopeHealth, we witness the extraordinary impact palliative care can make in a patient’s life, and in the lives of their loved ones. We’re honored to show nursing students what a career in palliative care can mean to them – and to their future patients.”

The Susan D. Flynn Oncology Nursing Development Program was founded by Fred Flynn, inspired by the end-of-life 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 230 oncology nursing fellows from more than 10 hospitals. The new palliative nursing fellowship is the program’s latest expansion, and its first partnership with URI and HopeHealth.

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 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 nonprofit 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.

Back to top