Nursing Students Pilot New Tissue and organ Donation Education Program

Nursing Students Pilot New Tissue and organ Donation Education Program

Senior nursing students in the “Introduction to Critical Care” course at Southeast spent the spring 2019 piloting a first-of-its-kind online program on tissue and organ donation.

The initiative, “Organ and Tissue Donor Education for Undergraduate Nursing Students,” is made possible thanks to a generous grant awarded to Southeast by Mid-America Transplant (MT) in St. Louis, Missouri, the first organization in the world to have a retrieval center for organ and tissue donation.

The award followed a call for proposals issued by MT on the topic of organ and tissue donation to all universities in its service region.

Dr. Linda Heitman, professor in the Southeast Department of Nursing and principal investigator for the project, submitted a proposal for the online learning platform. Heitman completed her graduate research at Saint Louis University on transplantation. Following her graduation, she served on the MT Professional Advisory Board and worked to promote organ procurement at Southeast Hospital, now SoutheastHEALTH, before joining the Southeast faculty.

A Nursing Education Grant team was assembled with MT staff.

“Together, we explored disparities in organ and tissue donation education for nursing students, and we created a learning platform to provide current, comprehensive information to address those disparities,” Heitman said.

“The online program provides nurse educators with current, comprehensive information about organ and tissue donation for inclusion in nursing school curriculums,” Heitman said. “Through the program, nursing students will gain a clearer understanding of the role of an organ procurement organization (OPO), in this case, Mid-America Transplant.”

MT helps donor families through moments of grief and loss, supports transplant patients, and facilitates safe, reliable donations for transplant.


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