Terry M. McDonnell, ARNP, MSN, DNP
Seattle Cancer Care Alliance
University of Washington School of Medicine
Receiving a diagnosis of cancer is like getting on the worst roller coaster ride of your life. At SCCA, we’ll be there for you through every twist and turn, providing support and easing the process of treatment as much as possible.”
Tell us about an interaction with a patient that had a significant impact on you.
Several years ago, I met a first responder who had been diagnosed with a small tumor in his colon. He’d had it surgically removed and was seeking follow-up care at the academic center where I was working. But it turned out that his cancer wasn’t cured — scans revealed that it had spread to his lungs. That discovery was the beginning of a long relationship; I saw him through multiple rounds of chemotherapy, more surgery, remission and recurrence. He ended up undergoing a then-groundbreaking procedure that saved his life. Through more than 10 years of various treatments and therapies, he never gave up. I admired his persistence and appreciated his sense of humor. Working with him and celebrating his triumphs is one of my favorite memories.
Specialties and clinical expertise
The branch of medicine a provider practices and their areas of focus
I joined SCCA in 2017 as the chief nurse executive and vice president of clinical operations. In these roles, I oversee our clinical professional staff and ensure we are delivering patient-centric care. I am also an acute-care-certified, doctoral-level nurse practitioner who specializes in treating patients with gastrointestinal cancers. My expertise includes managing cancer-related fatigue and providing supportive care. I have been the recipient of several awards throughout my career, including the Schwartz Center Compassionate Caregiver Award, which recognizes health care professionals for their dedication to patients and families.
Prior to moving to the Seattle area, I was the director of cancer center clinical services at Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH). My background includes serving on the board of directors for the Boston Oncology Nursing Society. I have also been a clinical preceptor for several educational institutions, including Harvard Medical School and the MGH Institute of Health Professions.
Why do you specialize in gastrointestinal oncology?
Gastrointestinal oncology has been my passion ever since my early days as a nurse practitioner. There’s something very special about being present in the moment with patients and families as they deal with a complex set of health and life circumstances. Receiving a diagnosis of cancer is like getting on the worst roller coaster ride of your life. At SCCA, we’ll be there for you through every twist and turn, providing support and easing the process of treatment as much as possible.
Massachusetts General Hospital Institute of Health Professions
Acute Care Nurse Practitioner, 2005, American Nurses Credentialing Center
DNP, MSN, Massachusetts General Hospital Institute of Health Professions