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5 Questions with Erica Bates

5 Questions with Erica Bates

Meet Erica! She's from Philadelphia and moved to Seattle two years ago to work as a radiation therapist at SCCA Proton Therapy Center. Before she was a radiation therapist she was an x-ray technologist. Read our 5 questions with Erica.

What’s your role in patient care?

Patient care plays an important role in my daily work as a radiation therapist. In addition to administering treatments, a big part of the role is monitoring and assessing the patients’ needs. I have the privilege of providing a strong support system for our patients as well as their families. Here at the center the patient is always our priority.

What’s the most rewarding part of your work?

The absolute most rewarding part of being a radiation therapist would have to be the relationships we form with our patients. As a radiation therapist we are with our patients every day throughout their course of treatment, sometimes even twice a day, depending on their treatment. Throughout their treatment we form a special bond with our patients and really get the opportunity to connect on a different level. We learn about their lives outside of their diagnosis, and become a vital part of their support network.  Being a radiation therapist takes a strong mindset, and can be stressful, but at the end of the day knowing that you were a part of helping someone battle cancer, makes it all worth it.

How did you end up in this career?

I have always been passionate about my role as a radiation therapist. My passion for this field and reason for choosing a career in radiation therapy comes from a personal experience. When I was 13, my sister was diagnosed with osteosarcoma, an aggressive form of bone cancer. Watching my sister battle cancer was my motivation, and helped me develop a strong sense of compassion and desire to help others battling cancer. While in x-ray school I was able to rotate through the different modalities in radiology and that is when I discovered radiation therapy. After I graduated x-ray school I attended Thomas Jefferson University in Philadelphia for radiation therapy. I have only been in the oncology field for 2 years, but I have gained so much knowledge and it has been such a rewarding period of time. I love being a radiation therapist. I believe in doing work that I love: “Do what you love, love what you do.”

What do you like to do for fun?

I really enjoy traveling! Last year I spent 2 weeks in Italy with one of my best friends. Since moving to Seattle I have started hiking. I really enjoy being outside and exploring what the PNW has to offer. I also enjoy going to shows, spending time with friends and watching hockey. Go Flyers!

Can you share a recipe you really enjoy?

Zucchini pasta! I love pasta but the carb overload can be too much. All you need is zucchini, a spiralizer and your favorite sauce. Voila!