Angie Rodriguez, a nurse at Seattle Cancer Care Alliance (SCCA), has been named the 2019 Washington State Nurse of the Year in Ambulatory Care by the March of Dimes.
Rodriguez, SCCA’s associate director of clinical operations, infusion/clinical trials, has been instrumental in encouraging infusion staff to pursue advanced levels of certification and educating and preparing nurses to work with the complicated needs of oncology patients.
Rodriguez works to integrate nurses new to SCCA into the intricacies of cancer nursing, taking time to mentor individual nurses and help them think strategically about how to improve patient care. She has also worked to streamline the patient infusion experience, helping implement a new infusion scheduling system that more effectively allocates space so patient times are reduced.
Rodriguez, who has been a nurse since 2005, called the award “very humbling.”
“Oncology is a very special area for me.,” she says. “You see people going through traumatic experiences and life-changing events, and it’s really nice to be there for them and contribute positively to their care. The hope that you see, the strength and drive within the patient, helps rekindle the energy I have as an oncology nurse.”
Rodriguez has served as a resource to other ambulatory centers nationwide that are implementing similar efforts to optimize infusion schedules. “These efforts to make the experiences of our patients better has improved the patient and family journey with the SCCA and with cancer,” says Theresa McDonnell, chief nurse officer and vice president for patient care.
Jill Williams, a nurse in Rodriguez’s infusion unit, says that Rodriguez creates an environment where all nurses are free to ask questions and try new things. Nor is she above pitching in with daily nursing tasks. “In addition to motivating, leading and facilitating, Angie goes above and beyond by being hands-on,” says Williams, who is professional practice coordinator at the infusion and clinical trials unit. “I have seen her step in on the floor as charge nurse, even to clean clinical bays.”
Each year, the March of Dimes recognizes extraordinary nursing care in 15 categories. The Ambulatory Care award honors nurses who treat patients seeking care for acute and chronic illness.
“Angie has a particular passion for offering expert care and mentoring nurses,” says Kathleen Shannon Dorcy, director of clinical research, education and practice at SCCA. “She has a really good blend of making sure the work gets done while also celebrating the people and events that happen in an oncology center.”