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Specialist nurse training programme: dealing with asking for organ donation

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Abstract

The issue of cadaveric organ transplantation is by its very nature emotional as it is associated with the very traumatic time of a loved one’s death. Making a request for organs needs to be handled very sensitively by health professionals when discussing the issue with a family. Those nurses working in critical care areas are most likely to confront this issue and need to be equipped for dealing with ensuing events. The major challenge for the nurse is to address the concerns with brain death and organ donation in an environment of grief and sadness. Asking for organ consent is the most important element of all and needs to be done in the most sensitive manner, providing appropriate support to the donor family. To facilitate this process specialist training programmes in the nursing curriculum are imperative. Education programmes should incorporate presentations, role play situations and discussions based upon past experiences of organ requests. This would hopefully result in increased rates of donor consent and thereby a reduction in transplant waiting lists.

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