An accident or illness of a loved one or even yourself may result in daily contact by phone or in person with an organ donor procurement coordinator. Organ transplants have rocketed from rare to routine over the years. As a result, organ coordinators temporarily become important parts of the destinies of many families. You may not want to become an organ donor procurement coordinator yourself, but knowing about them and what they do for donors and recipients can be comforting during times of anxiety and stress at the hospital.
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Organ donor procurement coordinators oversee the organ transfer process. They identify organ matches and obtain consent for organ donation from the next of kin. Consulting with physicians, surgeons and hospital staff, they oversee critical care management of donors while coordinating donor organ placement, surgical recovery, preservation and transportation. They confer with and counsel organ recipients and their families, and are responsible for the delivery of outstanding customer service and respect to recipients and the families of donors and recipients.
They assist in the review of death records, meet with and prepare reports for hospital administrators, and plan and prepare educational programs for hospital personnel on the identification and referral of potential organ and tissue donors.
At a minimum, applicants should have a license as a registered nurse, physician assistant or respiratory therapist. A bachelor’s degree in nursing or a health-related field is a plus.
Any of the four voluntary certifications by the American Board for Transplant Certification is another plus: certified procurement transplant coordinator, certified clinical transplant coordinator, certified clinical transplant nurse and certified transplant preservationist.
Organ donor procurement coordinators usually have at least one year of experience in a critical care unit, as well as recent experience in donor management, organ allocation or organ recovery. Employers look for candidates with experience in public speaking, such as teaching. Experience in a trauma centre is a plus.
Coordinators should be able to use e-mail, word processing and database software within office software such as Microsoft Office or OpenOffice. Familiarity with database and presentation software is a plus.
Strong interpersonal and verbal communication skills, compassion and drive help organ donor procurement coordinators achieve and maintain acceptable levels of successful transplant outcomes.
Coordinators also need strong organizational, planning, problem-solving, decision-making and written communication skills. They also must be able to multitask and work independently while functioning as a member of the transplant team.
The ability to understand and communicate in more than one language is an added plus.
Organ donor procurement coordinators work with patients, patient families and surgeons during emotional and stressful life-and-death situations. Deadlines can be tight. Missed deadlines can result in the deaths of potential recipients.
Coordinators work extended, flexible hours. Some are on call almost all the time. They need to have dependable transportation and be able to travel on short notice. Because of the irregular hours and stress of the job, many procurement coordinators leave within 18 months. This adds even more job opportunities for those seeking employment in this field.
Salary and Job Outlook
In April 2010, according to PayScale.com, the average annual salary for organ donor procurement coordinators was £37,960. Salaries vary widely depending on the education, certifications, experience and responsibilities of the coordinator.
Organ donation has been a growing field. The increasing number of people waiting for organ donations created a need for more donors and organ donor procurement coordinators.
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