Marquis Top Health Care Professionals

Mary Ellen Shands

Title: Research Manager, Senior Research Consultant, Clinical Program Manager & Family Consultant
Company: University of Washington School of Nursing
Location: Lake Forest Park, Washington

Mary Ellen Shands, Research Manager and Senior Research Consultant at University of Washington School of Nursing, has been recognized by Marquis Who’s Who Top Health Care Professionals for dedication, achievements, and leadership in cancer and end-of-life care.

Following obtaining a Bachelor of Science in nursing in 1977 from the American University Lucy Webb Hayes School of Nursing in Washington, Ms. Shands continued her education with a Master of Nursing from the University of Washington School of Nursing in Seattle in 1987.

Since 1995, Ms. Shands has provided superior service as a clinical program manager, family consultant and support group manager with Cancer Lifeline, a nonprofit organization in Seattle devoted to optimizing the quality of life for anyone living with a cancer diagnosis as well as family, friends and coworkers, featuring free programming with contracts with several local hospitals and providing education and classes, exercise, meditation, relaxation, support groups. In addition, she has thrived as a research manager with University of Washington School of Nursing since 2020.

Ms. Shands brings over three decades of nursing experience to this service, beginning with George Washington University Hospital in Washington, where she served as a staff nurse from 1977 to 1978, and as Director of Field Services from 1978 to 1979 with Bay State Home Care Services, Inc., in Springfield, Massachusetts. She then prospered as an administrator with Personal Aides Inc., in Silver Spring, Maryland from 1979 to 1980 and a home care nurse, coordinator and director of admissions with Hospice of Northern Virginia, Arlington, Virginia from 1980 to 1985. Ms. Shands then made an impact as a bereavement specialist with Community Home Health Care in Seattle from 1987 to 1990, bereavement coordinator with Group Health Cooperative Hospice Program from 1990 to 1992, as a grief and loss counselor, in private practice from 1991 to 1995. 

In recognition of Ms. Shands’ service in cancer care, she has been honored with the Barbara Frederick Award for Inspirational Vision and Leadership by Cancer Lifeline in 2015 and 2020, 2020); the Gloria Gutkowski Founders Award by Cancer Lifeline in 2011; the Karl & Ellen Zahlis Inspirational Award by Cancer Lifeline in 1998 and additionally several leadership awards.

Mrs. Shands attributes her success to her mentors as well as to her ability to listen well. She has also learned a lot from her experiences as a nurse through working in the most difficult parts of the job and exploring different aspects of the field. one of the important lessons that she learned from her mother was if she is doing the best that she can at something then she can expect more from herself. She also attributes her success to her sister, a psychiatric nurse who is nine years older than she is, for her support and for being a good role model. 

Ms. Shads considers her career highlight being part of the early development of hospice care in the country in the early 1980s. Additionally, it was important to her back then also to be caring for a family who went before Congress and testified about the need for the Medicare benefits for hospice services. In coming years, Ms. Shands will be focusing more on the research conducted by the University of Washington that will be funded by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) for a clinical trial which involves a skill-based intervention program. Furthermore, retirement is something that she looks forward to as well, but she would like to still be involved in research on a volunteer basis.

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