Maria Ducharme rises to the top at The Miriam Hospital as its new president

PROVIDENCE – Maria Ducharme, who has held a series of nursing and leadership positions at The Miriam Hospital over a 33-year career, is the new president of the 3,300-employee hospital.

Ducharme, who holds a doctorate in nursing practice from the Massachusetts General Hospital Institute of Health Professions, is the first nurse promoted over her career to president in the 96-year history of the hospital, located on the city’s East Side.

As president, Ducharme oversees all hospital operations, including clinical and administrative practices, as well as strategy and employee development and engagement. She started at the hospital, which is part of the Lifespan, Inc. system of hospitals in Rhode Island, in 1987 as a cardiovascular and surgical nurse.

She succeeds Arthur J. Sampson, who retired in December 2020 after serving as president since 2012.

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“The organization has provided me with so much opportunity,” Ducharme said. “I’ve had eight different roles of progressive responsibility. I had a wonderful mentor in Arthur Sampson, who has encouraged me to grow.”

In her most recent position, as senior vice president of patient care services and chief nursing officer, she was a leader in the hospital’s initial response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The hospital has attained four-year Magnet recognition, a standard for nursing excellence, for six consecutive years. It is affiliated with the Warren Alpert Medical School at Brown University and has expertise in areas including oncology, orthopedics, cardiology and minimally invasive surgery.

On Monday, in an interview, Ducharme said one of the remaining challenges of the ongoing pandemic is retaining nurses and practitioners who have been working in stressful conditions for the past nine months.

The 247-bed hospital is above capacity, but had been working at a surge level for several years before the pandemic, she said. “Our ICUs are running at capacity. But the second [pandemic] surge has been less on our ICUs and more in our lower-acuity areas. Higher volume, but lower acuity. But we still are at capacity.”

In addition to her credentials from Mass General’s Institute of Health Professions, Ducharme holds a master’s degree in nursing from the University of Rhode Island and a bachelor’s degree in nursing from Rhode Island College.

Mary MacDonald is a staff writer for the PBN. Contact her at macdonald@pbn.com.

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