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Transplant nurses day

As a post-renal transplant coordinator, I serve as the advocate responsible for coordinating all activity for the transplant patient and their family. This includes, but is not limited to:

  • Assisting in the completion of the pre-transplant evaluation, as well as the preparation and presentation of the intended recipient to the medical review board for the patient’s acceptance on the transplant waiting list
  • Coordination of the organ transplant and living donor process by taking the donor call and facilitating the patient’s arrival to the hospital, obtaining the room assignment for the patient’s admission and scheduling operating rooms for the transplant surgery to occur
  • Providing education to the inpatient transplant recipient and family upon receiving the kidney transplant, as well as providing discharge teaching and planning for outpatient, post-operative follow up care

I pride myself on being a post-transplant coordinator. On a daily basis, I review patient labs with the attending nephrologist, advise the patient and/or guardians on medication dosages and when to repeat lab work. I visit the transplant recipient during their outpatient clinic appointments, review their current medication dosages and assist in ordering medication refills. I collaborate with multiple members of the multidisciplinary team to assist in the patient’s successful post-transplant treatment.

For me personally, it’s rewarding to watch my patients (and their family members) mature during their post-transplant phase and getting to see them live a “normal” life amongst their peers. I love hearing about when they are able to participate in school and social activities without the restraint or limitations they may have had pre-transplant. The long hours of being on-call and the diligent work that goes into a potential organ offer that results in kidney transplantation is especially rewarding. I’m constantly touched by how appreciative our patient families are for the precious gift bestowed upon the recipient– a second chance at life. It is the trust and the friendship that blossoms between the family members, recipient and transplant coordinator when continuity of care is established. It is an invaluable feeling knowing I play a vital role in the success of their post-transplant course. These instances, among others, are the ones that are the most sentimental to me.

As a Texas Children’s pediatric intensive care unit (PICU) nurse, prior to my current role as a renal transplant coordinator, I had experience taking care of patients on dialysis, as well as recovering post-transplant kidney recipients. Unbeknownst to me, these assignments would prepare me for the greatest patient I could ever care for.  My mother had end-stage renal disease due to diabetic complications and was maintained on hemodialysis from Nov. 22, 2008 until April 9, 2011. On the evening of April 10, 2011, she received a phone call that a kidney had become available. I was at work that evening and my youngest sister called to inform me of the news. I immediately began to cry tears of joy because I knew this was the blessing my mother had been waiting so patiently for in her unanswered prayers. She underwent her kidney transplant and I was able to be home with her the day following her surgery to assist during her first two weeks of recovery. It is the greatest reward to be in a role that is such a great fit and uniquely designed for me. For that, I am forever grateful and continue to pray the care I deliver to my renal transplant recipients is provided diligently and with the utmost respect and love, always.

Dana Harney, transplant coordinator