At the time of writing this, there are 6642 people waiting for a transplant.
6642 people that I expect have family and friends sat nervously waiting with them for ‘that call’. The phone might ring but it could be a false alarm. Then the wait starts again.
I’m a registered organ donor. I have been since I was 17. It was easy to sign up; I got my provisional driving licence and they asked me the question.
I thought “why not?”
“A slight inconvenience to me saves lives and actually feels quite nice.”
I personally believe I don’t need my organs after I’ve died and I like to help people so why should this end after I’m gone?
I don’t mean to sound holier-than-thou but I donate blood regularly and I am on the bone marrow donor list. Why wouldn’t I be?
A slight inconvenience to me saves lives and actually feels quite nice. We’re student nurses so wanting to help people drives us, alongside tea, chocolate and the odd tipple of course.
“I came across many patients in need of heart transplants. It shocked me how long these people are waiting and the number of false alarms they receive.”
I’ve just finished my placement on a coronary care unit where I came across many patients in need of heart transplants.
It shocked me how long these people are waiting and the number of false alarms they receive. They have to be told of a potential organ so the staff can prepare them fast for the operation.
The mental anguish I witnessed during a false alarm was immense; you could see it in patients’ eyes. One patient died because of the long wait for a heart. I was so angry and upset: what a waste of life. The medical team had done all they were able to and the patient had fought long and hard but nothing could be done without an individual or family making what is a tough decision to make at the time - to donate organs.
“The mental anguish I witnessed during a false alarm was immense; you could see it in patients’ eyes.”
Religion plays a big part in this for many. The Organ Donation service states that all major religions in the UK support the idea of donation but there are restrictions and beliefs that will contribute to the decision. As nurses it is our job to at least have an understanding of the beliefs of the major religions in the UK and seek advice to ensure we don’t offend or negatively impact anyone.
I hope I’ve persuaded you to give organ donation a bit of thought. If you’ve decided to donate then please discuss it with your family; it doesn’t have to be morbid. My parents and fiancée are aware of my wishes. ”I’m an organ donor” I said. “Okay, cool” my fiancée replied. And that was that sorted.
”It’s important to make the decision as easy as possible for your family.”
It’s important to make the decision as easy as possible for your family. It takes less than two minutes to sign up via the NHS Organ Donation website. And whilst we’re on the subject of being nice, why not take a look at donating bone marrow. or blood. Again, signing up is quick and painless. Even if you can’t donate, it’s good to know how the process works for future reference.
Vicki Abrahams is Student Nursing Times’ adult branch student editor