Although advances in medical science have occurred regularly since the dawn of human history, organ transplantation as a viable way to treat certain conditions and demonstrably extend a person’s lifespan did not really come into its own until the second half of the twentieth century. New drugs and surgical techniques made organ transplants widely available to most people in the West, and with this availability came a need for medical personnel trained specifically in organ transplantation. This included nursing, and transplant nursing is now one of the most in-demand of all nursing occupations. Men and women who complete an LPN program or RN program and then attain certification as a transplant nurse prepare themselves for an exciting career of helping to provide life-saving treatment to people who had no medical resources just a generation or two ago. Here is a brief guide to the role of the transplant nurse, training for the position, and the job prospects for someone who completes a transplant nursing education.
Transplant Nursing: The Job
As the title of the concentration area indicates, transplant nursing is simply nursing care for those who have had an organ transplant of some kind. Organ transplantation is a specialized science, and those who have gone to one of the many nursing schools in the country understand all too well that the actual transplant surgery is just one step in the transplantation process. Patients who receive a new organ need counseling before, during, and after the surgery because taking an organ from another person is a serious matter, and there can be many complications. Doctors need individuals who have graduated from online nursing programs or traditional nursing programs to help them perform the transplant surgery efficiently and safely. Following surgery, the patient must maintain a regular regime of anti-rejection drugs, regular exercise, and much more. Transplant nurse jobs put nurses into place to help with this post-operative care. In sum, transplant nurses help at every stage of the transplant process, having acquired specialized knowledge in organ transplantation from online LPN programs, online RN programs, or traditional nursing programs that offer a focus in organ transplantation science.
Transplant Nursing: The Education
As is true of all other nurse jobs, attaining a position in transplant nursing first requires that the applicant complete the course of study available in a licensed practical nursing (LPN) program or a registered nursing (program). Students today are fortunate to be able to choose from several fine traditional nursing programs or either online LPN programs or online RN programs. The nursing education available through all of these courses provides students with an overview of the nursing profession and all of the basic medical knowledge that they need to work in a variety of medical settings.
During or following one of these nursing programs, the potential transplant nurse will need to complete training for transplant nursing. Many B.S. in nursing programs, for example, allow students to choose an area of specialization, with transplant nursing being one of the nursing career emphases that can be selected. If students choose to go this route, they will receive clinic hours in transplant nursing and take courses focused on the treatment and care of transplant patients. Many online nursing programs also offer a concentration in transplant nursing. Those who do not attain clinic hours in transplant nursing during their studies or take a course with a transplant nursing career focus will have to focus on transplant nursing later on in their continuing education courses, and work to get a nursing education in transplant nursing through clinic hours in a transplant ward or clinic after graduation. Either way, clinic hours are especially important as they provide hands-on training in all of the different areas of organ transplant patient care.
All nurses, regardless of their specialization, also have to get licensed by passing the NCLEX-PN exam for LPNs or NCLEX-RN exam for RNs. In fact, without this license, one cannot get work as a nurse anywhere in this country. Those who want to become a transplant nurse will also need to pass the test available through the American Board for Transplant Certification and become a certified clinical transplant nurse. This certification will make it easier to find a job as a transplant nurse, as it indicates to hospitals, clinics, and other transplant venues that the applicant is specifically trained for a transplant nursing career. This licensure is therefore recommended for everyone who wants to become a transplant nurse.
Transplant Nursing: Job Prospects
Like other nursing occupations, the job prospects for transplant nurses are excellent. Improvements in medical science and the treatment of infections will no doubt increase the need and demand for transplants in the future; thus, those who attend one of the many excellent nursing schools in order to become a transplant nurse should find that their course of study was a wise investment. Nurse jobs for those who have specialized in organ transplantation care will no doubt continue to be abundant in the foreseeable future, as organ transplant patients will need help in the administration of anti-rejection medicines and other treatments that are key to a successful recovery from an organ transplant.
The median salary for those who work in transplant nursing in the United States was about $75,000 as of 2010. This is above the national average for most other careers, so those who want to earn a good living often choose an LPN program or RN program and then pursue certification in transplant nursing. Many nursing schools also offer online LPN programs and online RN programs, so the radical life changes once associated with going back to school are no longer required for most people. These online nursing programs are excellent ways to prepare for transplant nursing and other nursing occupations, and potential students can find out more about these excellent nursing programs and other nursing education opportunities on this site.
For more information on organ transplants, transplant nursing, transplant nursing certification, and much more, please visit the following resource sites:
- American Board for Transplant Certification
- BIO 113: Organ Transplants
- Children's Organ Transplant Association
- International Transplant Nursing Society
- Organ Donation from Medline Plus
- Organ Transplant History
- Transplant Nurse Coordinators
- Transplant Nursing
- United Network for Organ Sharing