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Health Care Professionals

Nursing at SCCA

At SCCA, nurses are the backbone of the life-changing work we do. As caregivers and researchers, our nurses are fundamental to providing excellent patient care. Their knowledge, leadership and commitment help drive innovation and improve outcomes for patients.

Nursing Philosophy and Practice Model
Nursing Philosophy and Practice Model

A team of nurses collaborated with nurse leadership to establish a formal model of care for SCCA.

Why be an SCCA Nurse?
Why be an SCCA Nurse?

Nurses are integral members of any health care team, and at SCCA, our nurses are vital to the delivery of individualized, evidence-based and compassionate oncology care.

Nursing departments and services

Nurses can be found in many different roles at SCCA. SCCA nurses are partners, decision-makers, researchers — and life-changers. Our nurses work with leading-edge science, which offers unparalleled opportunities for career growth. 

Advanced registered nurse practitioners

Advanced registered nurse practitioners (ARNPs) serve as important members of the care team. As advanced practice providers, SCCA’s ARNPs work with physicians and nurses in specific disease groups, in infusion areas and with specialty care services to guide treatment plans and provide supportive care to oncology patients.

Infusion An injection of medications or fluids into a vein over a period of time. Nurse practitioner A registered nurse who has additional education and training in how to diagnose and treat disease. In cancer care, a nurse practitioner may manage the primary care of patients and their families. A registered nurse who has additional education and training in how to diagnose and treat disease. Nurse practitioners are licensed at the state level and certified by national nursing organizations. In cancer care, a nurse practitioner may manage the primary care of patients and their families, based on a practice agreement with a physician.
Blood and Marrow Transplant

Nurses in the Blood and Marrow Transplant (BMT) program support patients who are assigned to a team based on their diagnosis and type of transplant. BMT team nurses work closely with the entire transplant team, which is made up of physicians, advanced practice providers, pharmacists, registered dieticians, social workers and many others. They follow patients during inpatient and outpatient treatment, triage symptoms, answer patient questions and help coordinate care for patients who are receiving allogeneic transplants, autologous transplants or long-term follow-up care.

Bone marrow transplant The process of treating disease with high doses of chemotherapy, radiation therapy or both. Bone marrow or peripheral blood stem cells are given after treatment to help the body make more blood cells. The process of treating disease with high doses of chemotherapy, radiation therapy or both. Because this treatment destroys the bone marrow’s ability to produce blood cells, bone marrow or peripheral blood stem cells are given after treatment to help the body make more blood cells. Symptom A physical or mental problem that a person experiences that may indicate a disease or condition. Symptoms cannot be seen and do not show up on medical tests. A physical or mental problem that a person experiences that may indicate a disease or condition. Symptoms cannot be seen and do not show up on medical tests. Some examples of symptoms are headache, fatigue, nausea and pain.
Diagnostic and supportive care services

Nurses provide a variety of supportive and specialty care services at SCCA that contribute to the overall care of oncology patients. These specialty service departments include Supportive and Palliative Care, Apheresis, Clinical Trials, the Wellness Clinic, Radiation Oncology, Procedure Suite, Alliance Lab and Transfusion Services.

Blood transfusion A procedure in which whole blood, or parts of the blood, are put into a patient’s bloodstream through a vein. The blood may be donated by another person, or it may have been taken from the patient. A procedure in which whole blood, or parts of the blood, are put into a patient’s bloodstream through a vein. The blood may be donated by another person, or it may have been taken from the patient and stored until needed. Also called transfusion.
General oncology and heme/heme malignancy clinics

Clinical nurse coordinators in the general oncology and heme/heme malignancy clinics work closely with physicians, advanced practice providers and supportive care services to support patients within a particular disease group. They triage symptoms, answer patient questions, assist with procedures and help coordinate care from the patient’s very first visit throughout their cancer journey.

Symptom A physical or mental problem that a person experiences that may indicate a disease or condition. Symptoms cannot be seen and do not show up on medical tests. A physical or mental problem that a person experiences that may indicate a disease or condition. Symptoms cannot be seen and do not show up on medical tests. Some examples of symptoms are headache, fatigue, nausea and pain.
Immunotherapy

Nurses working in the Bezos Family Immunotherapy Clinic provide a range of care to patients who are receiving immunotherapy treatments. Some nurses in this clinic provide hands-on care to patients by administering chemotherapies and immunotherapies, providing supportive care and assisting with bedside procedures. Other nurses work closely with physicians and advanced practice providers to coordinate care, triage symptoms over the phone and answer patient questions. In both roles, nurses function as part of an integrated team to deliver seamless care to immunotherapy patients.

Immunotherapy A type of therapy that uses substances to stimulate or suppress the immune system to help the body fight cancer, infection and other diseases. A therapy that uses substances to stimulate or suppress the immune system to help the body fight cancer, infection and other diseases. Some immunotherapies only target certain cells of the immune system. Others affect the immune system in a general way. Types of immunotherapy include cytokines, vaccines, bacillus Calmette-Guerin (BCG) and some monoclonal antibodies. Immunotherapy A type of therapy that uses substances to stimulate or suppress the immune system to help the body fight cancer, infection and other diseases. A therapy that uses substances to stimulate or suppress the immune system to help the body fight cancer, infection and other diseases. Some immunotherapies only target certain cells of the immune system. Others affect the immune system in a general way. Types of immunotherapy include cytokines, vaccines, bacillus Calmette-Guerin (BCG) and some monoclonal antibodies. Symptom A physical or mental problem that a person experiences that may indicate a disease or condition. Symptoms cannot be seen and do not show up on medical tests. A physical or mental problem that a person experiences that may indicate a disease or condition. Symptoms cannot be seen and do not show up on medical tests. Some examples of symptoms are headache, fatigue, nausea and pain.
Infusion

Infusion nurses administer chemotherapy, blood products and other medications and treatments prescribed by the care team for a wide variety of oncologic diagnoses. SCCA infusion nurses work closely with physicians, advanced practice providers, clinical nurse coordinators and other clinical support staff to ensure continuity of care for all patients.

Chemotherapy Treatment that uses drugs to stop the growth of cancer cells, either by killing the cells or by stopping them from dividing. It may be given alone or with other treatments. Treatment that uses drugs to stop the growth of cancer cells, either by killing the cells or by stopping them from dividing. Chemotherapy may be given by mouth, injection, infusion or on the skin, depending on the type and stage of the cancer being treated. It may be given alone or with other treatments, such as surgery, radiation therapy or biologic therapy. Infusion An injection of medications or fluids into a vein over a period of time.
Non-clinical departments

Nurses contribute to many non-clinical departments at SCCA, using their training and expertise to inform the education, patient care, quality improvement and safety of frontline staff. These departments include Research; Quality & Regulatory; Research, Scholarship & Program Development; Nursing Education; Employee Health & Safety; and Infection Prevention.

Nursing executive leadership

Meet our nursing leadership at SCCA.

Terry McDonnell, DNP, ACNP-BC
Terry McDonnell, DNP, ACNP-BC

Chief Nursing Officer

Suni Elgar, MPH, BSN, RN, OCN
Suni Elgar, MPH, BSN, RN, OCN

Associate Chief Nursing Officer

Nursing professional development

Many leadership and professional development opportunities are available to SCCA nurses who are looking to expand their role or grow their skill set. Nurses may seek advanced roles within departments such as quality, regulatory affairs, education or program development.

Leadership and professional development opportunities

Nurses can progress to clinic leadership roles by becoming preceptors, supervisors, managers or professional practice coordinators and can serve on various nursing committees. SCCA nurses at every level are encouraged to participate in scholarly inquiry and quality improvement and present their work in local, national and international professional conferences and publications.

Continuing Education

SCCA RNs and LPNs who work at least 50 percent FTE and have been employed for longer than six months are eligible to receive continuing education funds every fiscal year, up to $300, based on percent FTE. Funds can be used for many kinds of continuing education, including local and national conferences, professional membership fees, health care books and study and testing time toward nursing certifications.

SCCA employees who have an FTE of 50 percent or more and have completed one year of continuous service are eligible for tuition reimbursement through SCCA.

SCCA’s Clinical Continuing Education Library has a robust range of live and pre-recorded classes and webinars from world-renowned experts in cancer care. Access is available to staff and students at all SCCA locations, network affiliate sites and academic partner institutions. For more information, please email education@seattlecca.org.

Residency and Dedicated Education Unit programs

  • New Grad RN Residency
  • New-to-Specialty RN Residency
  • Nurse Technician Program
  • Dedicated Education Unit Programs
  • Graduate Student Programs
Additional education resources
Scholarships
Scholarships

SCCA supports the following scholarship opportunities for nurses to grow their nursing practice through education and professional development.

Research, Clinical Trials and Evidence-Based Practice Implementation
Research, Clinical Trials and Evidence-Based Practice Implementation

SCCA is taking ownership for developing implementation plans and creating research orders to best support the needs of its patients.

Shared governance

Shared governance promotes patient safety and quality care through shared decision-making between nurse leaders and frontline nursing staff. Through multiple nursing and interdisciplinary councils, SCCA nurses at all levels are provided the opportunity to engage in their professional practice and collaborate to support an innovative and patient-centered approach to nursing care.

Advanced Practice RN/Professional Practice Coordinator Council

The Advanced Practice RN (APRN) and Professional Practice Coordinator (PCC) Council provides oversight of nursing research, practice and education across all SCCA sites of care. The APRN/PPC Council is responsible for ensuring that RN, LPN, MA and NA-C practice is in alignment with regulatory requirements and SCCA’s vision, values and strategic plan.

Clinical Practice Council

The Clinical Practice Council partners with local practice councils to integrate work and achieve progress in the areas of clinical practice, outcomes and research.

Nursing Shared Leadership Council

The Nursing Shared Leadership Council provides a framework for staff and management to collaborate on developing nursing care practices and making other decisions related to patient care.

Professional Development Council

The Professional Development Council promotes staff education, personal and professional growth, and recognition for RNs, LPNs, MAs and NA-Cs at SCCA. 

Organizational recognition and accreditation

SCCA is proud to hold accreditation, membership and recognition from various agencies and organizations, which demonstrate our support of SCCA nurses and commitment to providing exceptional and highly specialized oncology patient care.

Commission on Cancer (CoC) Accreditation

What it means to have accreditation: The Commission on Cancer is a consortium of professional organizations that aims to improve the survival rate and quality of life of cancer patients. CoC-accredited cancer programs establish standards that promote cancer prevention, research, education and monitoring of comprehensive quality care. Accredited programs focus on the entire spectrum of cancer, from prevention to end-of-life and survivorship care, with a significant focus on patient survival and quality of life. 

Foundation for the Accreditation of Cellular Therapy (FACT) Accreditation

What it means to have accreditation: FACT accreditation elevates our position as a quality organization and informs patients, health insurance companies and governments that our organization is dedicated to excellence in patient care and laboratory practices.

National Comprehensive Cancer Network (NCCN) Member Institution

What it means to be a Member Institution: NCCN Member Institutions pioneered the concept of the multidisciplinary team approach to patient care and lead the fight against cancer as they integrate programs in patient care, research and education. Programs at NCCN Member Institutions offer access to expert physicians, superior treatment and quality and safety initiatives that continuously improve the effectiveness and efficiency of cancer care.

Oncology Nursing Certification Corporation (ONCC) Employer Recognition Award

In 2020, SCCA was awarded the Employer Recognition Award from the Oncology Nursing Certification Corporation (ONCC) for providing ongoing support and recognition of oncology certified nurses.

Learn More

Recognition of nurses

SCCA honors our nurses' commitment to excellence in oncology nursing and day-to-day patient care.

DAISY Award

The story of the DAISY Award begins at SCCA. In 1999, J. Patrick Barnes, a twotime survivor of Hodgkin lymphoma, spent eight weeks with Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center/University of Washington Medical Center/SCCA receiving treatment for idiopathic thrombocytopenia purpura, an autoimmune disorder. His nurses’ humility, kindness and compassion impressed Barnes’ family. After he died, they created the DAISY Award (Diseases Attacking the Immune SYstem) to honor nurses.

Read more about the DAISY Award

Lymphoma Cancer that begins in the cells of the immune system. There are two basic categories of lymphomas: Hodgkin lymphoma and non-Hodgkin lymphomas. Cancer that begins in cells of the immune system. There are two basic categories of lymphomas. One is Hodgkin lymphoma, which is marked by the presence of a type of cell called the Reed-Sternberg cell. The other category is non-Hodgkin lymphomas, which includes a large, diverse group of cancers of immune system cells. Non-Hodgkin lymphomas can be further divided into cancers that have an indolent (slow-growing) course and those that have an aggressive (fast-growing) course. These subtypes behave and respond to treatment differently. Both Hodgkin and non-Hodgkin lymphomas can occur in children and adults, and prognosis and treatment depend on the stage and the type of cancer.
National Nurses Week

National Nurses Week occurs annually from May 6–12. Each year at SCCA, many exciting events are planned during this week to express support and appreciation for our nurses. We are proud of our nurses, who provide great attention and specialized care for patients and contribute their time outside of patient care to mentor and orient students and new nurses, conduct research and participate in quality improvement projects. National Nurses Week concludes on Florence Nightingale’s birthday with the commemoration and recognition of SCCA nurses past and present.

Nursing Annual Reports

Our providers are a fundamental part of the extraordinary care SCCA provides. Through their commitment to keeping patients at the center of all they do, SCCA nurses and specialists prove that by working together, we can tackle any challenge we face.

View Annual Reports

Global outreach

In 2018, the Uganda Cancer Institute (UCI) and Fred Hutch Cancer Research Center invited SCCA nurses Kathleen Shannon Dorcy, PhD, RN, FAAN, director of clinical nursing, education and practice, and Arlyce Coumar, MN, RN, OCN®, to create a nursing partnership. The intention of the collaboration is to enhance nursing expertise and catalyze mutual efforts to mitigate the increasing burden of cancer felt disproportionately in low- and middle-income countries. The project was initiated as a field work project for a Master of Nursing program for Arlyce, based on her passion for public health and social justice. The program continues to be focused on a sustained engagement with UCI nurses. Together, we have developed a strategy for an ongoing alliance.

Download Poster

The poster highlighting the collaboration was presented at an international nursing symposium in 2019. Our model for engagement with a low-resource health care setting moves away from a traditional ethnocentric view of a rescuer visit to UCI toward one based on relationship-building and cultural humility. We used surveys of the nurses on three visits to UCI to become acquainted with the nurses’ work setting and patient care loads. 

The most recent in-person visit was when Principal Nursing Officer Sr. Tino Christine and Sister Rose Nanking came to visit SCCA, UW Medical Center and Seattle Children’s Hospital in 2019. They reported having a better understanding of different models of structuring the nursing team and of delineating onboarding requirements for staff who are new to oncology.