The role of specialist nurses for organ donation: A solution for maximising organ donation rates?

Jennifer Tocher, Daniel Kelly, Barbara Neades, Graeme D. Smith

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Abstract
Aims and objectives
To explore the role that Donor Transplant Co‐ordinators have played and the future potential of Specialist Nurses for Organ Donation (SN‐ODs), within organ donation strategies in the UK and other countries.

Background
Organ donation and transplantation rates vary extensively around the world. However, there is a universal shortage of deceased donors, prompting different approaches to increase transplantation rates. Within the UK, the Clinical Lead for Organ Donation and Specialist Nurse in Organ Donation undertake a key role in the implementation of the Organ Donation Strategy. The Human Transplantation (Wales) Act 2015 is a recent development which facilities a deemed (presumed) consent approach to organ donation, the Specialist Nurse in Organ Donation undertakes a major role identifying the potential donor in this situation by confirming the deemed consent status of the donor and supporting bereaved relatives. UK governments in England and Scotland are currently seeking legislative changes to an opt‐out system of organ donation, in line with the Wales change.

Design
This discursive paper explores the role from Donor Transplant Co‐ordinator to Specialist Nurse in Organ Donation (SN‐OD) within organ donation policy in different settings, but with a specific focus on the UK. The paper clarifies the current and future potential of nurses working with bereaved families when requesting authorisation for donation.

Implications for nursing
The current scope and future potential of Donor Transplant Co‐ordinator and Specialist Nurse in Organ Donation roles need better recognition. Little empirical data exist about the key role that these nurses play in the organ donation process, especially in relation to gaining authorisation to proceed to donation.

Conclusion
There is a need to clarify the role of the Specialist Nurse in Organ Donation and their impact on improving rates of organ donation.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2020-2027
JournalJournal of Clinical Nursing
Volume28
Issue number9-10
Early online date22 Jan 2019
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 8 Apr 2019

Keywords

  • ethics
  • nursing roles
  • specialist nurses
  • transplantation

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