How To Become a Transplant Coordinator: Definition, Steps and Skills

How to become a transplant coordinator
  1. Earn an associate or bachelor’s degree. …
  2. Apply to work for your local Organ Procurement Organization (OPO) …
  3. Complete the Certified Procurement Transplant Coordinator (CPTC) certification.

UVA Transplant Coordinators

What does a transplant coordinator do?

Transplant coordinators have many responsibilities related to organ transport, including:

Communicating between surgeons, donors and recipients

Transplant coordinators are a valuable point of contact between surgeons, donors or their families and recipients. They communicate important information about the donors and patients to surgeons, which reduces risks and helps the transplant procedures go smoothly. They also discuss the procedure with donors and their families so the process is clear. Similarly, transplant coordinators remain in contact with recipients and follow up after the procedure is complete.

Evaluating potential donors

Before a patient can donate an organ, transplant coordinators must screen potential donors to make sure their organs are healthy and viable for a new recipient. They evaluate donors using a set of interview questions and qualifications to determine the health of the donor, including any medical and social history that can affect the health of a donated organ. These evaluations may involve a donor or a donors family members and are the first step in the organ transplant procedure.

Matching donors to recipients

Another important aspect of a transplant coordinators job is matching the donors with recipients. Once a donor has cleared the evaluations, coordinators can add them to lists for patients hoping to receive new organs. They match donors and recipients based on factors like:

This part of the transplant process is very important as well matched donors and recipients can have higher chances of transplant success.

Transporting organs

Transplant coordinators do much of their work in hospitals, but they also spend a lot of time traveling to transport organs from one site to another. Sometimes, donors and patients might be in different hospitals, or a donors organs might need to be taken to a temperature-regulated storage facility for a short period. This requires knowledge of proper transportation techniques to keep the organs viable for transplant and a valid drivers license.

Providing resources for donor families

Sometimes, a donors family may have to make decisions about the donors organs. When this happens, transplant coordinators can provide resources and support to the families to help them understand the procedures. These resources are usually educational and summarize how the organs will be used and the ways the transplant will benefit the recipient.

What is a transplant coordinator?

A transplant coordinator handles many aspects of the organ transplant process. They support surgeons, recipients and donors or their families to create a seamless transplant experience for everyone involved. Transplant coordinators are vital to safe, effective transplants as they ease donor and patient stress and let surgeons focus on the delicate medical procedures.

How to become a transplant coordinator

Employers may require you to pursue a degree in nursing and receive a certification that proves your transplant coordination skills before they hire you as a full-time employee. Here are the steps you can take to get started in this career:

1. Earn an associate or bachelors degree

Transplant coordinators typically have at least an associate degree in nursing, but a bachelors degree in nursing can improve your chances of finding a job in this field. These degrees show employers that a candidate is familiar with patient care, medical practices and medical terminology.

2. Apply to work for your local Organ Procurement Organization (OPO)

There are Organ Procurement Organizations, or OPOs, in multiple localities across the United States. These OPOs organize donation efforts and provide volunteering opportunities for those interested in transplant procedures. To become a transplant coordinator, you must secure a position with your local OPO.

3. Complete the Certified Procurement Transplant Coordinator (CPTC) certification

While a transplant coordinator can technically work without certification, the American Board for Transplant Certification (ABCT) programs help transplant coordinators further their careers. The Certified Procurement Transplant Coordinator (CPTC) exam is designed for candidates who have worked for at least a year as a transplant coordinator, either full-time or in a training capacity.

Skills for a transplant coordinator

Here are a few of the skills you need in a transplant coordinator role:

Surgical and/or medical knowledge

Having surgical and medical knowledge is an important skill for transplant coordinators because it allows them to understand and speak competently with medical professionals. They can also educate patients and their families and answer medical questions about the transplant process.

Biology experience

Understanding human biology and anatomy helps transport coordinators by allowing them to:

Detail oriented

Transplant coordinators should have acute attention to detail. The profession relies on being thorough and focused in every aspect of:

Compassion

While many parts of a transplant coordinators job are technical, this role also requires empathy and compassion for the people involved. Patients and families are experiencing a high-stress, emotional situation, and transport coordinators can help ease some of their concerns and provide emotional support. Transport coordinators can also share resources and guidance for families to help them heal physically and mentally.

Cleanliness

When handling organs and spending time in hospitals, its vital for transplant coordinators to practice cleanliness. This skill not only protects themselves and others from germs and pathogens, but it maintains the viability of the organs by keeping them away from possible contaminants.

FAQs about a career as a transplant coordinator

Here are some frequently asked questions about working as a transplant coordinator:

How much do transplant coordinators make?

What is the work environment like for a transplant coordinator?

Transport coordinators usually work in hospitals or other surgical facilities. Because transplant coordinators are nurses, they may work on a variety of nursing shift schedules, such as eight-, ten- or 12-hour shifts. They may also work on-call hours as needed for emergency and time-sensitive cases.

What is the job outlook for transplant coordinators?

Please note that none of the organizations mentioned in this article are affiliated with Indeed.

FAQ

What does a transplant coordinator do?

The Transplant Coordinator is responsible for coordination of the evaluation and preparation of patients for organ transplantation and long-term management of patients after transplant.

What does a renal transplant coordinator do?

Clinical coordinators facilitate all aspects of the transplantation process. Their responsibilities include: educating patients and families about various treatment options and answering any questions they may have, evaluating living donors and recipients and coordinating post-transplant follow-up.

What degree do you need to harvest organs?

An Associate’s Degree in Nursing is acceptable for this role but a Bachelor’s degree is usually preferred. While there’s no specific degree for this specialty, there are often applicable nursing elective courses that one can take to prepare for this career, including transplant surgery and case management.

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