Transplant Coordinator?

  1. 0
    I was wondering if there were any transplant coordinators around here?
    I work in a pedi CICU and recently thought this might be something I'd be interested...many years from now I think as I am still loving the bedside :-)
    I haven't actually talked to any of the coordinators on my unit as we haven't had many transplants recently. I was wondering specifically if this is a job I would need a masters for and if so, a masters in what?
    Furthermore what do your typical duties entail? And do you enjoy it?
    I would be most specifically interested in pediatric heart transplantation
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  3. 14 Comments so far...

  4. 1
    The American Board for Transplant Certification is an independent, not for profit organization that was founded in 1988. Its purpose is to award a voluntary, non-governmental certification credential, "Certified Clinical Transplant Coordinator (CCTC), "Certified Procurement Transplant Coordinator (CPTC), Certified Clinical Transplant Nurse (CCTN) and the new Certified Transplant Preservationis ICTP)," to qualified transplant professionals who have successfully passed the certification examination, which represents a standard of competence.
    American Board for Transplant Certification

    The Candidate Handbook for CCTC, CPTC, CCTN, CTP

    Some programs require Critical care certification and at least 6 years experience some programs require Masters with a Speciality in critical care
    GrnTea likes this.
  5. 2
    Thanks for that info! I was unsure of where to look, definitely things to start thinking about. I'm on my fourth year in iCU but definitely planning on staying bedside for while but figured if I need to get a masters I need to start thinking about that now
    GrnTea and Esme12 like this.
  6. 2
    I know of a co worker that took a transplant coordinator position. A bachelors degree was the requirement.
    She thought it would be fantastic to make the call to the recipient.. " your donor organ is ready".... etc. Then required to follow them for the entire pre and post -op scenario.
    She was required to be on call for 24 - 48 hours. NOT possible.
    She gave it up after 6 months.

    Best of luck with your goals.Keep us posted.
    netglow and umcRN like this.
  7. 1
    I've looked into both ends of that spectrum the donor side and the recipient side some time ago. I had even talked to some in the field at length. The advice I'd give is to really think hard on this. There are some ethical issues you need to figure out for yourself, especially on the donor side of things. I am all for the organ donor deal. I am signed up for it myself.

    There are people in the process, sometimes nurses, sometimes not, who must take the call from the hospital alerting to the fact that there is a brain dead person who might be a suitable donor at that moment. Someone from the OPO must make contact and get consent from the family to donate their loved one. Now, sometimes the patient has already made donor arrangements themselves, and sometimes not. In either case, this person from the OPO must convince the family to consent. Patient is vented awaiting possible consent. Consent must be obtained from family very quickly in the midst of their misery.

    This is all understood and necessary in order to proceed. But the thing I have a huge problem with is that the convincer must meet a quota of usually 60-70% (want 70%) in order to keep his/her job with the OPO. If you are not up to your numbers, I wonder how pushy you get and how tricky you get on the phone or in person with these families. After all, you gotta make your numbers or you are no longer employed - feet to fire to pay your mortgage. I had always thought that job would be not one of sales numbers but one of counseling and education, and once that family has the information, come what may. Well, it's not that way.

    Needless to say, you won't find this out in any job description that is written down. You are told in person and in no uncertain terms. OPOs compete with each other.

    Best to try and find someone working in this, and ask them very personally all your questions you may have.
    Last edit by netglow on Feb 6, '13
    Marisette likes this.
  8. 0
    Netglow, I'm not sure if you meant this way but I want to clarify for the OP that a pre-transplant coordinator is not the same thing as the representative for organ procurement organizations (OPO).

    OP, if you want to do pre-transplant, you'll have to like educating families and you get to make that special phone call. I don't know how much this would apply to pediatric heart since my knowledge comes from adult kidney/liver/lung but I've seen pre-transplant coordinators have a lot of weight in the decision whether to actually transplant the patient depending on their assessment of the patient/family. You may not necessarily have to be on-call as much as someone else said... it depends on how many other people there are doing your same job. You also don't necessarily need a Master's. Relevant experience in the field would certainly help but you'd be surprised about the backgrounds of some transplant coordinators I've heard of.

    Post-transplant coordinators do LOTS of follow-up. You have to be an organized person and be able to utilize your resources. By this I mean, you'll be scheduling a lot of things: patients' follow up exams, tests, lab draws, OR times, re-admissions, medication refills.... these things get wrenches thrown in them all the time and you have to accommodate, know the right people to talk to, and not get mixed up! You should have good judgement because those patients will call you with problems and you can choose to solve them over the phone or tell them to come in to the ER or call the surgeon and tell him there's a problem. You'll be following lab work and looking for red flags. The patients really rely on you once they're cut loose (discharged). The hospital felt like a protective cocoon and now they're alone with a lot of new medications and precautions and they've forgotten everything they've been taught in the hospital.

    You'd get to work with a dedicated, brilliant team. Hopefully you love that field and you can connect with the patients. Those things would make the hard work worth it. But we all work hard, right? The idea is to find the thing that doesn't make it feel like work.
  9. 0
    It depends on your OPO, or your direct (no middle man) transplant hospital.

    It's the non-clinical coordinator/referral/resource person (titles vary) or the nurse who has the consent talk. The OPOs are trying to decouple the hands on patient people from the convincers more and more these days having the "convincers" do all hx and chart review and decision making that is approved at the OPO then, they are the ones that dispatch the RN. But still, there are numbers to be reached per total calls if convincing is what you are tasked with, and just knowing that is going on - I can't wrap my brain around. Now if you can push that aside, you are good to go.
  10. 0
    Although I've never been one, I have a few friends who have worked for One Legacy in the past. I also have a few friends also work pre & post transplant for the transplant hospital. Transplant Coordinators at One Legacy have tough shifts if you have a family with kids. My friends were usually on duty 24 hours at a time. Their coverage area was large too! So they did a lot of driving in their own vehicle. They burned out pretty quickly. They both had BSN and worked ICU for at least 2 yr. The pre & post coordinators vary by position. Some work regular hours and others have call. They have BSN and ICU experience as well.
  11. 5
    I know that this is an older thread, but as someone who currently works in organ procurement and transplant, I would like to clarify a comment made by "netglow". It is NEVER the job of the designated requestor who speaks with potential donor families to CONVINCE anyone to consent, nor is anyone referred to as a "CONVINCER". The role of the designated requestor is to assess the family's understanding of brain death and/or grave prognosis, and to provide the family with sufficient information regarding donation so that they may make an informed decision (informed consent). Local OPOs track consent rates and report them to governmental agencies, but there is NOT a "quota system" in place. OPOs aim for a consent rate of 75% or greater, but it's a goal (much like hospitals have a goal of 0% central line infections). Misinformation like this is damaging to the public's perception of organ donation and can be quite damaging to the fantastic work that OPOs do. Contact your local OPO for more information. All OPOs have literature and educational programs (inservices) in place for both the public and healthcare professionals. Typically, the "ethical issues" surrounding transplant have more to do with a lack of education than murky ethics.
  12. 0
    All I can really add to this is, the sheer look of relief on the face of our neurosurgeon when he was explaining that our son had failed his apnea testing miserably (still had great upper brain function, but had multiple midbrain and stem strokes; locked in) when I stopped him and said "Well, I need to let you know that he had chosen to be an organ donor and I guess we need to start making those preparations." was unreal. He was so relieved. I know that he thought he was looking at a very healthy 17 year old young man/athlete who was locked in and hoping and praying that we didn't decide to prolong that. I had already refused a feeding tube the day before because I knew what we were looking at and didn't intend to have the issues with removing nutrition. Because of the upper brain activity, the neurosurgeon took the step of resorting to an old but still recognized apnea test to determine brain death, taking those decisions essentially off our shoulders. The folks who came in to start all the testing and prep work were evidently not accustomed to dealing with family members who wanted to remain close to their loved one. The family liason who has been put in place was wonderful, but still very obviously grieving her own daughter's death. I guess what I'm getting at it, from the "other side of the bed", please make sure that you really want and can deal with the intense emotions surrounding these situations and remain sensitive. Had my son not already made his wishes clear (and I believe that is because we've always been very honest and open about even the painful conversations in our family, and I am SOOOOO very thankful for that!) I can see where this would have been an unbearable time for us. Had I not been a nurse with an understanding of what was going on, I would have seen my family completely lost and confused. Had I not begged for sedation for him, the team would've not paid attention to the fact he was locked in, and thought I was insane when I asked for propofol and versed. They gave it, but I had to explain the situation to them. I, in no way, envy them at all. I admire the work they do. I am thankful for the transplant coordinators who've worked hard to connect my family with Alex's organ recipients. I just see a whole lot of room for improvement. I realize that there has to be emotional removal and compartmentalizing to just survive. I do understand that. But now that I've been on the "other side of the bed", I see so many things so differently. Just my thoughts....


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