URI College of Nursing alum takes helm at Miriam Hospital

Maria Ducharme, a nurse, has been promoted to president of Miriam Hospital

A University of Rhode Island College of Nursing graduate has been promoted to president of The Miriam Hospital in Providence, the first nurse to take over the top leadership position in the hospital’s 96-year history.

Maria Ducharme, DNP, RN, NEA-BC, was promoted from her position as senior vice president of patient care services and chief nursing officer to president, effective January 1, 2021. She graduated from URI with a master of science degree in nursing in 1996, before going on to earn a doctorate of nursing practice from Massachusetts General Hospital Institute of Health Professions.

Ducharme, who has spent her entire professional career at The Miriam Hospital, was appointed following a national search for an individual “of exceptional experience and caliber,” the hospital said in a release. Following her graduation with a bachelor of science degree from Rhode Island College in 1987, she was hired as a cardiovascular medical/surgical nurse. Her impressive breadth of experiences has included leadership roles in inpatient nursing, respiratory therapy, and rehabilitation services. In 2010, she was named senior vice president for patient care services and chief nursing officer of The Miriam.  

“Dr. Ducharme has dedicated her career to The Miriam Hospital’s mission of providing advanced medical care at the highest quality level in a community setting,” said Lifespan President and CEO Timothy J. Babineau, MD. “I am so pleased that the Lifespan community will continue to benefit from Dr. Ducharme’s deep knowledge, experience and expertise as she leads The Miriam Hospital as its next president.  Dr. Ducharme is a highly energetic, widely respected, and greatly admired leader – both inside and outside the hospital–and I know that she will only enhance The Miriam’s already stellar reputation.”

Ducharme has led some of The Miriam’s most ambitious efforts to improve the quality of patient care at the hospital. She has helped lead the hospital’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic, directly overseeing the refinement and deployment of new safety protocols developed in response to the coronavirus pandemic. Under her stewardship, The Miriam attained four-year Magnet recognition six consecutive times.

“I am thrilled to have the opportunity to occupy a role that will be integral to shaping the future of The Miriam Hospital, contributing to the overall strategy of Lifespan and furthering our mission of excellent patient-centered care,” Ducharme said. “I have had the privilege of working with an amazing group of colleagues, and as I step into this role, I look forward to advancing and enhancing our commitment to being a highly reliable organization, one that has a deep culture of trust and transparency and that continually drives excellence in quality and safety.”

Ducharme’s promotion is a credit to her dedication to the community throughout her career, and a further acknowledgement of the critical role nurses play in the delivery of health care, according to URI College of Nursing Dean Barbara Wolfe.

“It is inspiring to see nurses provide the highest level of leadership in times of rapid change and transformation of healthcare systems. This speaks to the value of their expertise in shaping the health and well-being of our society,” Dean Wolfe said. “Dr. Ducharme continues to have a truly impressive career. It is a great source of pride for the College to see an alumna achieve such a level of leadership.”