Michelle Abernathy, ACNP-BC
Seattle Cancer Care Alliance
University of Washington School of Medicine
Inpatient care, internal medicine
The genuine caring nature of the staff at SCCA is one of a kind.”
Tell us about an interaction with a patient that had an impact on you.
I once cared for a 19-year-old who had lymphoma that was non-curative. Toward the end of his life, his community rallied around him in a way I’d never seen before. There were more than 50 adults and teenagers in the hospital at all times, taking turns going into his room, sharing stories, shedding tears and toasting him with apple cider. Seeing the love they shared so freely with this boy was one of the most heart-wrenching and heartwarming experiences I have ever had. That memory reminds me of what makes oncology special to me: not only the meaningful relationships I develop with patients but also the opportunity to bear witness to the deep bonds between patients and their loved ones.
Specialties and clinical expertise
The branch of medicine a provider practices and their areas of focus
I am an advanced registered nurse practitioner who treats patients with a variety of diseases, including lung cancer, leukemia and sarcoma, among many others. My background includes bedside nursing experience in several specialties, such as emergency medicine, solid organ transplant and otolaryngology (ear, nose and throat). Prior to joining SCCA, I worked as a nurse practitioner with the Swedish Medical Center Department of Neurosurgery. Now, I am a senior member of SCCA’s hematology-oncology platinum service. In this role, I exclusively manage patients who have been admitted to UW Medical Center. I work in close collaboration with inpatient and outpatient physicians, pharmacists, nurses and other staff to manage all aspects of your care. No matter your illness, I will help you navigate any issues that arise during your hospital stay and beyond.
How do you like to work with patients?
I am exceptionally straightforward and transparent in my communication with you, whether I’m sharing good news or more serious news. I take the time to learn who you are outside of your disease — what hobbies you enjoy, who your family and friends are, what makes you smile — in order to build a relationship that is not only about the medicine but you as a person. It’s so rewarding to be able to walk patients and families through what is often one of life’s most difficult experiences.