Associate Professor of Nursing Carolyn Hames
Title: Associate Professor of Nursing
Expertise: Thanatology, death and grief in children and adolescents, death education
Death and grief. Two things most people don’t want to think about. But Associate Professor of Nursing Carolyn Hames has always had an interest in these issues, especially when it comes to children and nursing education. After all, one out of five American children will lose a parent by the time he or she has graduated from high school. And adults rarely know what to say to them.
So Professor Hames helped establish Friends Way in 1998. It’s a children’s bereavement center that works closely with hospitals, schools, funeral homes, mental health agencies, and individuals to offer grief support to children and their families. It’s the only organization of its kind in Southeastern New England.
Children grieve differently than adults, and they mourn differently according to their age, says Professor Hames. “Children understand death, loss, and grief only to the extent of their capacity at a given point in time. As they mature, they reprocess the loss with expanded insight and understanding. So, in effect, they re-grieve,” she said.
At URI, Professor Hames brings the mission of Friends Way to students taking our unique classes on thanatology – the study of death, loss and grief. And she’s very involved with the College of Nursing’s Weyker Thanatology Endowment, which shares her big idea – improve the care of the dying and bereaved through education and research.