It's not a job; it's a lifestyle: Experiences of organ donation coordinators

Patricia A. Blumenthal (2005)

Life-saving organ transplants cannot be performed without the donation of organs from another human being. The Donation Coordinator in an organ procurement organization (OPO) has the responsibility of coordinating this "gift of life," a highly stressful, but inherently rewarding occupation. While numerous studies have examined the medical and social implications of organ donation, there has been little written about the experiences of Donation Coordinators. This qualitative study examines the experiences of Donation Coordinators at the New England Organ Bank, to understand how they perform under stress, the ways that they cope with this stress, and the meaning they attribute to their roles. Implications for OPOs are discussed to assist in their recruitment efforts, as well as the development of supportive interventions for current employees. Suggestions for Donation Coordinators in maintaining good mental health are also offered.