Two Students Receive Annual Fellowship for Oncology Nursing

August 24, 2021

By Father Aloysius R. Sarasin, O.S.B., ‘17

students with flowers stand in front of poster presentations
Marie Brindamour '22 and Colleen McConnell '22

This summer, senior nursing majors Marie Brindamour ’22 and Colleen McConnell ’22, worked at Wentworth-Douglass Hospital in Dover, N.H., gaining valuable hands-on experience in nursing oncology through the Susan D. Flynn Oncology Nursing Fellowship.

The fellowship’s goal is to further the professional background of students interested in oncology nursing and to train them in clinical practices. “The Flynn Fellowship is a prestigious and extraordinary opportunity for nursing students to learn about cancer care,” says Prof. Caryn Sheehan, D.N.P., of the Department of Nursing.

Brindamour spent time working on the medical-surgical unit, the Seacoast Cancer Center infusion room, and in the Radiation Oncology Unit. In addition to the work she was assigned, Brindamour conducted her own research on the topic of “Emotional Support for Nursing Staff caring for Oncology Patients.” Her research included staff interviews, literature reviews, and analysis of job satisfaction surveys. “Though the research and presentation were very hard work and time consuming, this was an important topic for me given the stress on the healthcare system during the pandemic. I hope that what I shared will help the nursing staff to feel supported and appreciated after working through such scary and unprecedented times,” explains Brindamour.

In reflecting on her experience, Brindamour says, “To be chosen out of so many applicants was an honor, but the real honor was to meet so many brave and kind men and women, both patients and staff.”

McConnell spent her summer at Wentworth-Douglass Hospital conducting qualitative research focusing on “The Power of Human Connection: ‘Taking the Patient’s Lead.” Her research focused specifically on how the nurses at Wentworth-Douglass form relationships with oncology patients. “Meaningful nurse-patient relationships are vital to our practice as nurses,” explains McConnell. “These relationships result in nurse satisfaction as well as patient satisfaction.”

McConnell sees her time at Wentworth-Douglass as expanding her future in nursing. “This fellowship experience allowed me to find direction in my nursing career and further affirmed my passion for nursing,” says McConnell. “I was able to see the true beauty of nursing and patient care while following preceptors and participating in their day-to-day routine”

“Both junior nursing students were professional, gracious, and exceptional in describing their research findings and recommendations,” reports Prof. Sheehan. 

The Susan D. Flynn Oncology Fellowship was created by Frederick C. Flynn Jr., in honor of his late wife Susan Flynn, who passed away in 2013 after a courageous battle with ovarian cancer. Frederick Flynn was moved by the exceptional nursing care his wife received during her illness and wished to express his gratitude and respect for this care by founding this fellowship to encourage potential oncology nurses in their career development.

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