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Keywords:

  • attitude;
  • education;
  • emergency department;
  • organ donation;
  • tissue donation

Abstract

Objective: The ED is emerging as a priority for efforts to improve rates of organ and tissue donation (OTD) in Australia, but little is known of ED clinicians' attitudes, education or practices in the area. We aimed to determine the attitudes and OTD-related educational background and practices of Australian ED clinicians.

Methods: This was a national cross-sectional survey of members of the Australasian College for Emergency Medicine (ACEM) and the College of Emergency Nursing Australasia (CENA); online questionnaire of 133 items, graded responses using Likert and ordinal multi-category scales, plus open-ended qualitative questions.

Results: Of 2969 ACEM members, 599 (20.2%) responded; of 1026 CENA members, 212 (20.7%) responded. Respondents were broadly representative of the membership, with male trainee specialists underrepresented. Most ED staff supported OTD, although many were not certain that facilitating OTD was their role, or that the ED was the right place to identify donors. Around a quarter of medical and nursing staff had received no education regarding OTD. Having received education was related to professional status, cultural background, place of work and years of experience, and was significantly associated with attitude towards OTD and whether staff participated in OTD-related tasks.

Conclusions: More education on OTD is needed and requested by ED clinicians in Australia, particularly on OTD after cardiac death, management of a donor, brain death and obtaining consent. Postgraduate curricula should reflect this need for more OTD-related education in emergency medicine and nursing.