A Conversation with Elisha

Name: Elisha Nixon

Title: Quality Improvement Manager

Organization: John P. Murtha Cancer Center

Time with HJF: 5 years with HJF, 2 years and 8 months as Quality Improvement Manager

Elisha Nixon consistently demonstrates an unparalleled level of dedication to her work. She is universally respected by the staff at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center (WRNMMC). As the Quality Program Manager for the Murtha Cancer Center Research Program (MCCRP), Elisha serves as both the Stem Cell Transplant Program Quality Manager and the Inpatient Oncology Ward Quality Manager.

To call her a “change maker” is both accurate and an understatement. She has been instrumental in several initiatives for the 5 West Hematology Oncology Inpatient Ward (5W), including a massive improvement initiative for the transplant program that led to full re-accreditation with the Foundation for Accreditation of Cellular Therapy in 2018. Elisha also initiated and conducted multiple quality improvement projects over a short period of time. The projects established on 5W include the reorganization of the supply and nursing stations, resulting in MCCRP passing Joint Commission inspection that was publicly praised by the inspectors as a highlight of their hospital-wide inspection; the project Blacklight is an ongoing effort to ensure the cleaning and sterilization of the patient room is being performed to standard; the introduction of multiple Quality of Life improving measures to include creative arts and yoga classes among other activities and the formation and official dedication of the Michael A. Sheehan Exercise and Relaxation Room, a multifaceted space dedicated to making the inpatient experience as bearable as possible for our oncology patients.

Elisha recently received the WRNMMC’s Change Maker of the Month award in 2019 for her efforts with the design and execution of the 5W Michael Sheehan Recreation and Activity room. She was publicly recognized during the WRNMMC Town Hall by the commander. – submitted by Terri Singleton, Sr. Program Manager, Program Operations

What do you love most about the work you do? There aren’t very many jobs you are excited to wake up in the morning and get to work, but I believe that I have one of those neat jobs. As a Quality Improvement Manager, I get to dabble in so many neat projects with something new always popping up. I love knowing that the work I do not only protects the staff and patients, but it creates an environment that all can benefit from. I love working on complex challenges, the type that most people would run from, with a “bring it on” attitude. In addition, I have the opportunity to interact with so many people. Seeing a problem is a new opportunity for me to improve a process, which is not only thrilling but very rewarding. I absolutely love that I was able to create a brand-new inpatient activity room for our oncology patients at WRNMMC. It recently won first place at the National Quality Symposium for collaborative work. In addition, I recently helped revamp the Stem Cell Transplant Program. All of these opportunities wouldn’t have been possible in any other position, and I’m so grateful for the opportunities I’ve been given through HJF.

What book have you recently enjoyed? Very rarely do I have time to read, but the last book I read was “Becoming” by Michelle Obama.

What are you passionate about? I love spending time with my son, traveling—especially to Disney—and scouting. Each year, my son and I travel to random destinations, both domestically and internationally. Having been raised as a military dependent, I was lucky to be raised in Japan, which allowed me to travel extensively throughout Asia. I’ve been to over 35 countries and hope to see so much more of the world with my son. I am one of the very first female Scoutmasters for the Boy Scouts in the National Capital Region and have been actively leading a boy’s troop for over four years. I love camping and all the challenges that scouting brings. There truly never are any dull moments when you are involved with scouting. Lastly, I love Disney. I was a character performing in the parades at Disney World for several years during college, and now my family takes an annual trip to Florida to get our annual Disney fix.

Who would you most like to swap places with for a day? I would love to swap places with a tour guide on a Disney Cruise!

If you could visit anywhere in the world you've never been, where would you go? I would love to go to Machu Picchu, and trek through the jungle, or to Tahiti for a very relaxing time doing nothing but water sports and relaxing.

Is there anything else you’d like to share with your colleagues at HJF? As a Quality Improvement Manager, there is always room for improvement with everything that we do. Don’t take failure as the “end all be all” but instead twist things around and view it as an opportunity to do better!