Do we need to maximize the knowledge and attitude level of physicians and nurses toward organ donation and transplant?

Abdulbari Bener, Hatem El-Shoubaki, Yousuf Al-Maslamani
Experimental and Clinical Transplantation 2008, 6 (4): 249-53

OBJECTIVES: We sought to assess the knowledge level, attitudes, and personal views of physicians and nurses toward organ donation and transplant.

MATERIALS AND METHODS: This is a cross-sectional survey, carried out from November 2007 to June 2008 in the intensive care units and accident and emergency departments of the hospitals of the Hamad Medical Corporation. A representative sample of 685 health care professionals working in the hospitals was approached; 521 agreed to participate in the study (76.1%). Face-to-face interviews were based on a questionnaire that included sociodemographic information, knowledge level, and personal views toward organ donation and transplant.

RESULTS: Of the 521 participants, there were 268 physicians (51.4%) and 253 nurses (48.6%). The knowledge level of nurses was significantly lower for most of the questions related to organ donation, compared with physicians. Mean -/+ standard deviation for the score reflecting knowledge level was higher for physicians (4.9 -/+ 1.9) than it was for nurses (4.4 -/+ 2.0). The majority of the nurses believed, more than physicians, that brain-dead persons are eligible for organ donation (71.5% vs 63.1%), and that certain organs can be donated while the person is living, including kidneys, lobes of livers, and lungs (71.5% vs 62.3%). Many physicians (72.4%) and nurses (74.7%) did not know that brain death can be described as death. Most physicians and nurses supported organ donation (91.8% vs 79.8%), although a lower proportion of physicians and nurses were willing to donate a kidney to a family member in need (64.6% vs 68.0%). More than physicians (23.9%), nurses (61.3%) agreed that they lacked sufficient information about organ donation.

CONCLUSIONS: Although the physicians and nurses had an acceptable level of knowledge about organ donation, the mean knowledge score for physicians showed significantly better understanding of the criteria for organ donation and procurement.

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