Working as a nurse in any capacity or specialty allows you to make an impact on someone’s life. Transplant nursing is one of those areas where you know you are making a difference and helping a patient get a second chance at life.
What Do Transplant Nurses Do?
The responsibilities of transplant nurses may vary depending on where they work. In some situations, nurses may work with the donor, the recipient, or both. Transplant nurses play a vital role in preparing the patient and possibly the donor for the transplant process. This may involve taking medical histories and educating patients on the recovery process. Transplant nurses also take care of patients and donors after a transplant. This may include taking vital signs, administering medication, and monitoring patients for signs of complications after a transplant.
After graduating from an accredited registered nursing program and passing the licensing exam, you can start your nursing career. Since transplant nursing is a specialty area, most hospitals require nurses have at least a few years of general nursing experience.
One of the best areas of nursing to gain experience is medical, surgical nursing. Medical, surgical nurses have the opportunity to treat a wide variety of patients including those recovering after various surgical procedures. They also often treat patients who have an illness that may eventually require an organ transplant, such as patients with liver, kidney, and heart disease.
After getting at least a year or two of general nursing experience, consider taking the transplant nurse certification exam, which is offered through the American Board of Transplant Certification.
Travel Nursing Opportunities
Advances in medicine have allowed new types of organ transplants. In addition, some types of transplants are now able to be performed using a living donor. This also creates an increase in the number of transplants being done. With an increase in transplants being performed, the need for qualified transplant nurses increases.
Traditionally, transplant nursing is not one of the areas a large number of nurses go into. During nursing school, nurses are exposed to areas of nursing, such as pediatrics, labor and delivery, oncology, and emergency room nursing. Many nurses may not consider transplant nursing initially if they don’t have much experience with it.
The combination of increased transplants and lack of qualified transplant nurses creates a demand for transplant traveler nurses. Opportunities for transplant nurse travelers may be anywhere in the United States. Often transplant programs are in large medical centers located near major US cities.
Pros and Cons
There are many positive aspects related to transplant nursing. One of the biggest pros is seeing a patient get a second chance at life. In addition, transplants often improve a patient’s quality of life greatly. Playing a role in this transformation can be very rewarding. Transplant nurses are also often on the cutting edge of new technology and procedures, which can be exciting.
All nurses who work in a clinical setting, such as a hospital, will have to deal with patients dying at some point in their career. Transplant nursing is no different. Transplant nurses may have to deal with losing patients who don’t survive the process or die from complications.