The important role of nurses in increasing the rate of organ donation has been recognised today at the launch of a new education partnership between the University of Technology, Sydney and the NSW Organ and Tissue Donation Service (OTDS).
The initiative, the first of its kind in Australia, will incorporate clinical and social issues surrounding organ and tissue donation into both undergraduate and post-graduate courses offered by the UTS Faculty of Nursing, Midwifery and Health.
OTDS Clinical Manager Ellie McCann said the partnership would harness cutting-edge teaching methods to equip clinicians with the knowledge and skills to implement Australia’s best practice in organ and tissue donation.
"It will improve the level of understanding, support and care given to families of organ donors and recipients. It will also raise the profile of organ donation within hospitals.
"Besides course materials there will also be joint projects to develop teaching tools, DVDs and simulation sessions in the new state-of-the-art UTS simulation labs. This will give students and clinicians opportunities for hands-on training sessions," Ms McCann said.
UTS Dean of Nursing, Midwifery and Health Professor John Daly said that while Australia was a world leader in successful transplant outcomes, and Australians were generally willing to become organ and tissue donors, we nevertheless had one of the lowest donation rates in the developed world.
"In Australia the family will always be asked to confirm the donation wishes of the deceased before donation for transplantation can proceed, even if the deceased is a registered organ and tissue donor.
"Nurses are some of the most influential communicators in hospitals and are often the most appropriate person to speak to a family about organ donation, but the topic is not always adequately covered in university curriculums." Professor Daly said.
A simulation of brain death testing using advanced patient simulation technology and family discussion at the time of a potential donation was demonstrated at the launch.
The collaboration between the UTS and NSW OTDS reflects the importance of clinical education highlighted by the National Reform Agenda introduced by the Federal Government in 2008 and supported by States and Territory Ministers.
Australia is committed to improving organ and tissue donation rates through world’s best practice.
For further information about organ and tissue donation visit www.doantelife.gov.au (opens an external site).