Leslie A. Swanson, ARNP
Seattle Cancer Care Alliance
University of Washington School of Medicine
I think of my patients as family and treat them the way I would my own parents, grandparents or siblings.”
What do you enjoy most about your job?
Since I can remember, I always wanted to be a nurse. I love getting to know my patients and their families. Working with cancer patients in the outpatient setting allows me to do this. I get to hear about their life experiences, their families and their goals. I like to think of them as part of my family. My patients have had a huge impact on me. I love supporting them outside of the clinic by being involved in many activities like volunteering at SCCA House and participating in Obliteride and local 5Ks that support cancer research.
Specialties and clinical expertise
The branch of medicine a provider practices and their areas of focus
We have clinical trials open for almost every disease within gastrointestinal cancers. Clinical trials give patients the opportunity to receive treatments at the forefront of research. This doesn’t mean every patient’s treatment is suitable for a clinical trial, but we are here to help a patient navigate that decision. When approaching cancer treatment, quality of life is also very important to me. I connect my patients with SCCA supportive care services, which may include palliative care, social work or nutrition to ensure we provide the best possible care.
How do you approach challenges?
I understand that in tough situations such as a “bad scan,” I need to acknowledge that every patient takes in and processes information differently. One patient may want to know everything right away. Another patient may not know the background information and needs to be caught up. I work to support my patients and redefine goals based on their needs. I want them to be informed about the process, potential side effects and intent of treatment, so they can make informed choices that are appropriate for their personal goals.