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RIC Alum Named Top Homecare and Hospice Nurse in R.I. and Among Top 50 in Nation



Sue Hjerpe a 1984 graduate of Rhode Island College’s nursing program, was chosen by the National Association for Homecare & Hospice (NAHH) as the top homecare and hospice nurse in Rhode Island. She is among 50 nurses – one from each state – selected for outstanding nursing care.

Each year, NAHH invites member organizations to submit a nomination for a nurse who would represent their state. Hjerpe was nominated by the Visiting Nurse Association (VNA) of Rhode Island, where she has worked for more than 30 years.

Nominations must include a story of the nurse’s exemplary care of their patient. Hjerpe’s story focused on her 39-year-old patient, a Latino mother of three who is legally blind. According to Jane Creamer, chief human resources officer and chief operations officer for the VNA, Hjerpe’s patient has a long history of diabetic foot ulcers and cardiac issues. As a result of her health issues and responsibilities of caring for her family, she would often skip meals or make unhealthy dietary choices. Although the patient did speak English, Hjerpe brought in a Spanish interpreter to help the patient plan healthy meals that were more to her liking.

“Hjerpe’s provision of care, which included arranging doctor visits, caring for the patient’s wounds and encouraging the patient’s commitment to the plan of care, has kept her patient out of the hospital for more than six months,” said Creamer.

In addition to being selected as one of the top 50 homecare and hospice nurses in the nation, Hjerpe was also nominated as “one of the 10 nurses who inspire other nurses the most.”

Her story and photo will be published in “Caring,” a magazine distributed to all homecare agencies. In October 2013 all 50 awardees will be honored at a ceremony to be held at the association's annual meeting in Washington, DC.

“All of our staff at the VNA are shining stars,” said Creamer. “This is a chance for the nation to know about one particularly bright one.”