Organ transplants and education: experience of the Universidade Federal de Ciências da Saúde de Porto Alegre with subjects

J D Pereira, C M d V Pereira, F M Soares, L V Cruz, M K Zago, M C Girotto, C D Garcia, V D Garcia
Transplantation Proceedings 2014, 46 (6): 1666-8

INTRODUCTION: Today there is an insufficient number of donated organs in Brazil. This is particularly due to the general population's and health care professionals' lack of information. Therefore, with this project we intend to consolidate knowledge on organ donation to teach health care students of different areas so they are able to propagate such knowledge.

MATERIALS AND METHODS: In 2006, at Universidade Federal de Ciências da Saúde de Porto Alegre, an "Organ donation and transplants" subject was created, with the aim to educate health care students. In the next years, it was split in two subjects, named "Introduction to transplants" and "Donation and transplants." By enrolling, students get theoretical classes and practical experience in out- and inpatient facilities and in surgical environments at the Santa Casa Hospital Complex. Furthermore, they can participate in campaigns at parks, stadiums, and health care fairs that take place at several schools in Porto Alegre. To finish the subjects, students present a conclusion report.

RESULTS: Seven years after implementation of the subject, and with more than 400 students enrolled, several accomplishments can be highlighted. For example, the creation of the Organ Transplantation League, the implementation of a day to spread conception of the donation-transplant process (with the elaboration of a Web page on the subject), and the release of a book on the subject written by students and professors.

DISCUSSION AND CONCLUSION: Health care professionals' education is a central point in donation and transplant process. This is because they become, inevitably, educators, and this brings a long-term consequence, consisting of enhanced logistics skills on brain-death diagnosis and further transfer of information to the population (hopefully reducing denial by families at the time of the donation). We conclude that this is a project to be followed by other medical schools so that, effectively, the number of donors increases and, consequently, the transplantation of organs and tissues as well.

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