Clinical research nurse Kathleen Shannon Dorcy has been named the recipient of the University of Washington School of Nursing's 2005 Distinguished Alumni Award. She will receive the award at the UW's Nurses Recognition Banquet on May 12.
The award recognizes Shannon Dorcy, a 17-year veteran of the Clinical Research Division, for her compassionate, ethical care of patients and her thoroughness in coordinating dozens of clinical trials.
"I feel honored to be selected, and humbled, too," Shannon Dorcy said. "I'm lucky that I've had the opportunity to get a lot of schooling, and I've been mentored by some of the best people in the world. The physicians, scientists, nurses and staff here have helped me become who I am."
Shannon Dorcy received a master's degree in nursing from UW in 1991. She received a bachelor's in nursing from Seattle University in 1983.
"I can say without hesitation that Kathleen is perhaps the finest research nurse I have ever worked with," said Dr. Fred Appelbaum, director of the Clinical Research Division and one of eight people who nominated Shannon Dorcy for the honor. "We have worked closely together on several trials and in each case, she carefully researched the topic before the study was initiated, made certain that all regulatory and administrative aspects were in perfect order and, much more importantly, became intimately involved with every patient in the study."
"Kathleen has a deep institutional commitment and willingly takes on virtually every task asked of her and more. She is a remarkable individual."
Shannon Dorcy credits the center's patients and optimistic environment for her professional drive. "It's a deep privilege to work with the patients and their families who come here and to be part of their lives at such a fragile moment," she said. "And I love the whole atmosphere at Fred Hutchinson. Even though we're working with very difficult diseases and odds, there's always a thread of hope that we can find a cure."
A teacher too
In addition to her research responsibilities, Shannon Dorcy serves on Fred Hutchinson's Institutional Review Board and other center oversight and ethics committees. She teaches nursing classes at UW Tacoma. She also speaks to children about science and cancer through the Washington Association of Biomedical Research and has mentored high-school girls considering scientific careers. She volunteers for a wide range of community programs, from health screenings at elementary schools to assisting at migrant worker camps.
Shannon Dorcy is past president of the Alpha Sigma Chapter of Sigma Theta Tau (a nursing honor society) and an active member of the Oncology Nursing Society, the American Public Health Association and Puget Sound Oncology Nurses' Society.
The Distinguished Alumni Award, one of four annual leadership awards sponsored by the UW School of Nursing, recognizes a UW nursing graduate whose career exemplifies excellence in clinical practice, leadership in professional organizations, outstanding accomplishments and contributions to the community.