Blog » Celebrating Transplant Nurses Day 2019
According to the Organ Procurement and Transplantation Network, 6,100 organ transplants were performed during the first two months of 2019. That number pales in comparison to the number of people waiting for an organ transplant. A person is added to the transplant list once every 10 minutes, and, as of January 2019, there are more than 113,000 people waiting for this life-saving intervention in the United States alone.
Transplant nurses are a critical part of the organ transplant process. These professionals may be staff nurses, surgical nurses, transplant coordinators, post-operative care nurses, or research nurses. In all cases, these hard-working members of the care team help make organ transplantation possible through their dedication, hard work, and unique skill set.
Each year, the International Transplant Nurses Society (ITNS) celebrates the achievements of transplant nurses and raises awareness of the role these nurses play in the lives of their patients. April 17, 2019, is designated as Transplant Nurses Day.
As part of the celebration of transplant nurses, ITNS hosts an annual essay contest. This year’s theme, “My Transplant Nurse: An Avenger of Transplant”, reflects the skill and dedication with which transplant nurses practice. Transplant patients may nominate any ITNS-member transplant nurses with a 300 – 500-word essay detailing the nurse’s unique abilities and how they made a difference in the patient’s life.
Winners of the Transplant Nurses Day essay contest receive a recognition award and a letter sent to the nurse’s supervisor. They are also featured on the ITNS website and in an ITNS E-Updates membership email. The winning essay is highlighted in an upcoming issue of the ITNS Insider.
Transplant nurses play a key role in saving the lives of people receiving new organs. Typically, they work in hospitals, ambulatory surgery units, or organ transplant facilities. From the first day a patient comes to the facility, the transplant nurse is there to help support and educate both the patient and the family. Transplant nurses also meet with organ donors to help them stay as healthy as possible before donation.
In addition to explaining the benefits of surgery, transplant nurses help to prepare patients and living organ donors for the possible risks associated with transplant procedures. If organs come from deceased donors, transplant nurses help maintain the integrity of the organ and prevent it from coming to harm before the transplant surgery is completed.
Transplant nurses also educate patients and donors about the surgery itself, including tests and other procedures that take place pre-operatively, how long the surgery may take, and what post-surgical care involves.
During the recovery process, transplant nurses play a pivotal patient care role by dressing wounds, giving medications, and monitoring patients for signs of infection or other complications, like organ rejection.
One deceased organ donor can save as many as eight lives, but there’s still an alarming shortage of organs available for transplant. But thanks to the efforts of dedicated transplant nurses, over 35,000 people received a life-saving organ transplant during 2018, a new record high for the sixth year in a row. Recognizing — and celebrating — transplant nurses helps bring awareness to the issue and may help boost the number of lives saved by organ transplant.
There are many things you can do to recognize and celebrate the transplant nurses in your facility. ITNS has provided a list with some ideas: