Implications of transplantation surgery for theatre nurses: 1
Transplant donors, although legally dead, arrive in operating theatre departments appearing no different from any other preoperative patient. Some theatre staff may not appreciate, or even be aware, that transplant donors have been certified dead before donor surgery. This article, the first of two-parts, examines the implications of organ donation surgery for the emotional and psychological wellbeing of nursing staff. Other potential problems for nursing staff, related to the process of organ retrieval, are also explored. These include the scheduling of transplant work at times when there is a poor level of skill mix, difficulties in working with unfamiliar staff and equipment, the apparent lack of ‘benefit’ of surgery for donor patients, and the possibility of identifying with the victims of sudden and perhaps traumatic death. The second article, to be published in the next issue, will discuss ways of ameliorating the stress associated with this work.