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Meet our Oncology Social Worker

Meet our Oncology Social Worker

Here at SCCA Proton Therapy Center, every patient has a healthcare team that includes their radiation oncologist, nurse, radiation therapists and administrative staff.

But there’s another important person who plays a very crucial role, providing emotional support and counsel to patients: our oncology social worker.

Oncology social workers are licensed professionals who counsel people affected by cancer, providing support and helping people access practical assistance. An oncology social worker can help patients understand their diagnosis and treatment plan. They help patients coordinate daily transportation to treatment, finances, filing for disability, after-life wills, and more. The social worker follows a patient from before, during and after treatment.

At SCCA Proton Therapy Center, Tammie Bui is a one-woman show who wears many hats.

“As an oncology social worker, I help patients by setting expectations with them and their team of nurses and doctors. The treatment conversation is always fluid, and I am here for them every step of the way,” says Tammie. “What sets me apart is that I speak to patients in layman's terms, in a language they understand.”

Born and raised in the Pacific Northwest, Tammie is a tried-and-true Seattleite. She attended the University of Washington, where she received her Master of Public Health and Social Work. Her career started in research, then moved into clinical practice.

It was two years ago when Tammie switched from the emergency room to the SCCA Proton Therapy Center. She was looking for a smaller setting, where she could connect with patients on a deeper level and move at a slower pace. And she hasn’t looked back since.

“The most rewarding part about my job is when I see patients graduate,” says Tammie. “When I see them get to the end of the finish line, having seen them from the beginning to the end, it is such a powerful moment. There is a sense of loss and they’re not sure where to go from here, but there’s a beautiful sense of looking at the world with new eyes. They’re getting their lives back.”

Today, Tammie oversees all patients who are being treated at the center, ranging from 50 to 80 at a time. Not all patients require her services, but she wants them to know her door is always open.

“Our center never forces social work on anyone. My title can be intimidating to some, but my scope of practice is very broad,” says Tammie. “I really believe that everyone would benefit from having a conversation with me.”

To learn more about Tammie and her oncology social work, visit www.sccaprotontherapy.com/patient-resources.