BRADENTON – The Tidewell Hospice Nurse Residency Program has just made history as the first hospice-only residency program in the country to receive prestigious accreditation from the American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC) Commission.

At Tidewell Hospice, a member of Empath Health, the Nurse Residency Program is a transformative 12-month journey crafted to educate, empower, and nurture registered nurses with less than one year of experience in the hospice domain. Nurses graduate from the program with hospice skills in both the home and in-patient settings and are guaranteed placement on one of Tidewell Hospice’s esteemed care teams.

The accreditation on Accreditation in Practice Transition Programs is a testament to the program’s excellence. The ANCC particularly applauded the program’s unique “family atmosphere” preceptor model, robust support systems, and its commitment to cultural integration and retention efforts, all of which set a new standard in the industry.

Through the Nurse Residency Program, Tidewell attracts and nurtures exceptional nursing talent, equipping them with specialized skills and providing a clear career path, ensuring a top nursing staff for years to come. Unlike traditional routes that often require a year of nursing experience before entering hospice care, this program offers a direct gateway for new nurses who are passionate about hospice care right out of school.

Brianna DeLaRosa, MSW, LCSW, Empath Health Vice President of Organizational Development & Learning, says the program addresses a critical need in the hospice space. “Many nurses graduate with a desire to work in end-of-life care but have not yet been educated with the essential skills for this type of work,” said DeLaRosa. “The Tidewell Nurse Residency Program empowers graduates with both the clinical and social-emotional skills to provide transformative care to our hospice patients.”

Empath Health’s vision extends beyond Tidewell Hospice. The organization seeks to expand the Nurse Residency Program to its other hospice affiliates across Florida, including Suncoast Hospice, Suncoast Hospice of Hillsborough, Hospice of Marion County and Empath Hospice.

To qualify for this program, nurses must hold a valid Florida or multistate RN license, have graduated from an accredited nursing program and have less than one year of experience. Tidewell nurse residents receive comprehensive training, including six months in a hospice house setting with a dedicated clinical coach, classroom education on hospice topics and real time training in a state-of-the-art simulation lab.

The success of the Tidewell Hospice Nurse Residency Program, including the salaries of preceptors and residents, is made possible thanks to the generous financial support of Tidewell Foundation donors. Notably, Julie Osborne, a passionate donor and volunteer, played a pivotal role in kickstarting the program and contributing to the creation of the innovative simulation lab.

“It’s gratifying to know that the gifts I have made continue to impact so many lives and make such a difference. Although I have moved from the area, my heart will always be with Tidewell,” said Osborne.

Tidewell Hospice, founded in 1980 as the sole non-profit hospice in Sarasota, Manatee, Charlotte, and DeSoto counties, touches the lives of nearly 3,000 patients daily. Offering a wide range of medical treatments, integrative medicine, counseling, caregiver education, and advance care planning, Tidewell Hospice stands as a beacon of compassionate care. Specialized services for veterans, pediatric patients, heart failure patients, and dedicated teams focusing on diverse communities further underscore Tidewell’s commitment to excellence in hospice care.


Empath Health is one of the country’s largest not-for-profit health systems delivering non-acute care and services through its skilled, medical and holistic programs to individuals with chronic, advanced and terminal illnesses and those experiencing grief. The Empath Health integrated network of care provides expert medical, counseling and support services including hospice; home health; palliative care; grief services; all-inclusive elder care; HIV/STI prevention services and support; primary care; physician services; and full-service pharmacy and durable medical equipment (DME). Empath Health is honored to have approximately 26,000 people enrolled in our Full Life Care services in north central, west central and southwest Florida. We have nearly 130 combined years of experience serving individuals during some of their most vulnerable times. Our wide variety of community-based programs reflects our commitment to the preservation of our charitable mission.

Tidewell Hospice, a member of Empath Health, is an independent, not-for-profit health provider offering a home-centered, comprehensive system of end-of-life and palliative care for people living with advanced illness and their families. Annually, Tidewell provides care for more than 10,000 patients throughout Sarasota, Manatee, Charlotte and DeSoto counties with hospice houses and offices in Arcadia, Bradenton, Lakewood Ranch, Palmetto, Port Charlotte, Sarasota and Venice. As the region’s only not-for-profit hospice, Tidewell relies on donations to provide acclaimed patient and community services. Tidewell is accredited by the Community Health Accreditation Partner (CHAP) with deemed status, signifying excellent care.