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JOURNAL ARTICLE

Perioperative nurses' experiences of caring for donation after cardiac death organ donors and their family within the operating room

Zaneta Smith
Journal of Perioperative Practice 2019 May 13, : 1750458919850729
31081736

BACKGROUND: Worldwide, operating rooms have seen the re-emergence of donation after cardiac death organ donors to increase the number of available organs. There is limited information on the issues perioperative nurses encounter when caring for donor patients after cardiac death who proceed to organ procurement surgery.

OBJECTIVES: The purpose of this paper is to report a subset of findings derived from a larger study highlighting the difficulties experienced by perioperative nurses when encountering donation after cardiac death organ donors and their family within the operating room during organ procurement surgery from an Australian perspective.

METHODS: A qualitative grounded theory method was used to explore perioperative nurses' (nā€‰=ā€‰35) experiences of participating in multi-organ procurement surgery.

RESULTS: This paper reports a subset of findings of the perioperative nurses' experiences directly related to donation after cardiac death procedures drawn from a larger grounded theory study. Participants revealed four aspects conceptualised as: 'witnessing the death of the donation after cardiac death donor'; 'exposure to family'; 'witnessing family grief' and 'stepping into the family's role by default'.

CONCLUSION: Perioperative nurses' experiences with donation after cardiac death procedures are complex, challenging and demanding. Targeted support, education and training will enhance the perioperative nurses' capabilities and experiences of caring for the donation after cardiac death donor and their family with the operating room context.

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