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A transplant nurse has a critical function in the medical field. As with most professions in the medical field, you will be required to complete some higher education, training, and certifications. If you enjoy working under pressure and in fast-paced environments, this may be the ideal nursing position for you.
Each transplant nurse will have a similar function throughout the medical field. In general, you will be responsible for working with the donor and the recipient throughout the entire transplant procedure. Many times, a person is receiving an organ donation from someone they know or a generous donation from a stranger in their local community. In these circumstances, the transplant processes are relatively similar. You will be responsible for educating each participant of their roles and responsibilities. Each participant will have strict protocol to follow to ensure a successful transplant. This may be changing lifestyle behaviors temporarily or permanently. You must be able to communicate well. If you are unclear with your instructions or if you take down a donor’s information incorrectly, you could cause critical damage to an already delicate situation. It is also important to educate everyone on their expected restrictions and abilities after the surgery. Many people might expect to return to a normal functioning lifestyle after several months; however, other people may have limited functions for the rest of their days. You must be as precise as possible.
Other circumstances may not be as routine. Some transplant nurses may be more involved in emergency transplants. Many times, terminal patients are waiting for a transplant from an organ donor. This donor could pass from an unfortunate accident several states away. When this occurs and the recipient is at your location, all systems are a go. Everyone begins emergency preparations. You must be able to act accordingly in stressful situations. The transplant team will be tense and eager. You must remain composed and calm for the sake of your patient. You might, again, be responsible for educating the patient of the situation. You must be thorough and willing to explain that no transplant is a guarantee. You must also be organized to ensure every step has been taken prior to the arrival of the organ so the transplant is able to begin the moment the organ arrives. You will also continue to work with your patient for months or even years after the successful transplant to ensure everything remains in working order.
Each employer will have varying degrees of expectations in their ideal transplant nurse candidates. Today, many prefer a bachelor’s degree; however, most accept an associate’s degree. Online universities offer tremendous flexibility in their online programs for nursing degrees. You could keep your current job while you complete your nursing requirements. You will also be expected to complete your registered nursing certification prior to being able to work as a registered nurse. Some employers may only require you to be a licensed practicing nurse, which takes less coursework.
Many nursing positions are a constant work in progress. A transplant nurse is no different. You should always be learning to remain employable in these top careers.