Susan D. Flynn Oncology Nursing Development Program Fills Workforce Training Void for Hospitals, Provides Pathway for Oncology and Palliative Care Nurses
STAMFORD, CT (May 9, 2022) — The Susan D. Flynn Oncology Nursing Development Program — a cutting-edge training program that helps prepare nurses to specialize in oncology and palliative care — today announced a bold new expansion plan.
The Stamford-based program — which provides nursing students with the opportunity to learn about oncology care in real-life settings through a summer fellowship program— plans to increase the number of available fellowship opportunities from 32 to 54 by 2026. The Flynn Fellows program will also expand to include new fellowships for students who are interested in specializing in palliative care.
“Our fellowship program model has been successful in building an important talent pipeline for leading hospitals and creating new career pathways for nurses,” said the program’s founder, Fred Flynn. “We’re excited to take this important step to create more opportunities for nursing students and help improve the future quality of care for cancer patients.”
Flynn created the program in 2014, inspired by the Palliative Care nurses at Greenwich Hospital who managed the care of his late wife, Susan, during the last few weeks of her life in 2013.
“We are thrilled to partner with Fred Flynn to expand the Susan Flynn Oncology Nursing Fellowship across Yale New Haven Health Smilow Cancer Hospital,” said Kristina Capretti, Clinical Program Director at Greenwich Hospital. “Since 2014, this important fellowship has helped foster the professional development of the next generation of oncology nurses at
Greenwich Hospital. The Flynn Fellowship is inspiring, and we look forward to continuing this significant work across our health system.”
Since the program’s inception, 230 aspiring oncology nurses have completed the fellowship — addressing an important workforce development gap for hospitals, many of which struggle to identify and attract trained oncology nurses.
In addition to helping hospitals fill their pipeline with well-trained talent, the fellowship program also opens new doors for students as they prepare for their nursing careers.
“Before Fred started this program, student nurses typically didn’t get an introduction to oncology, let alone palliative care, until they graduated,” said Donna Coletti, MD, Palliative Care Scholar-in-Residence at Fairfield University’s Kanarek Center for Palliative Care and Founding Medical Director of Palliative Care at Greenwich Hospital. “This fellowship has pushed the oncology nursing specialty to the forefront of undergraduate training so that students have this as an option much earlier in their careers.”
Greenwich Hospital and Stamford Hospital in Fairfield County were the first to train Flynn Fellows. They have since been joined by several prominent hospitals and medical centers throughout New England and the Northeast, including Yale Health System’s Smilow Cancer Center, Hartford Healthcare, UCONN Health Center, Connecticut Children’s Medical Center, New York Presbyterian, Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, Hospital of University of Pennsylvania, Boston Children’s Hospital, Wentworth Douglass Hospital, and HopeHealth.
The program has also provided new opportunities for nursing students enrolled in local nursing schools, including Fairfield University, Sacred Heart University, UCONN, University of St. Joseph, and Quinnipiac. These schools alone have produced 74 Flynn Fellows to date.
“Fairfield University’s Egan School is incredibly honored to have been the first school to participate in the Susan D. Flynn Oncology Nursing Development Program,” said the school’s Dean, Meredith Kazer, PhD. “Over the past eight years, 26 Egan School nursing students have completed the fellowship. All of these students have benefited greatly from their fellowship experience and progressed to incredible nursing careers.”
Of the more than 200 Flynn Fellows who have graduated into the workforce to date, more than two-thirds have taken positions as oncology nurses and 46 are working in Connecticut hospitals.
“We’re humbled by the success of our Fellowship program and what it has meant for nurses, hospitals, and patients throughout Connecticut,” Flynn said. “Nurses play a vital role in patient care. We cannot think of a better way to mark National Nurses Week than by expanding the opportunities for nursing students to help improve the future quality of cancer care for patients and their families.”
About the Susan D. Flynn Oncology Nursing Development Program
The Susan D. Flynn Oncology Nursing Development Program attracts, inspires, and develops the next generation of oncology nurses. The program was founded in 2014 by Fred Flynn in memory of his late wife Susan, who died of ovarian cancer in 2013.
Since then, 230 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.
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