I am proud to be a Nurse.
Change in today’s health care system is a daily, if not hourly, reality. Reflecting on my personal experience as a nurse, to be the change agent, nurses should focus on a few key areas of their work i.e.; vision, passion and dedication along with in-depth knowledge in the area, they are working in.
I began the Transplant Coordinator role in 2010 at Central Manchester Foundation Trust. Shortly thereafter, I started enjoying the challenging role and realised what a difference a nurse can make to sooth a patient’s journey, while they wait for transplant. I started working with patients who have been on the waiting list for more than a year. It was during this time that my passion to address and work on increasing the number of South Asian organ donors grew.
I was asked by South Asian kidney failure patients who felt the allocation of organs to be inequitable, and expressed their concern on disparity in organ allocation due to their ethnicity. I could have ignored this but instead I tried to look for an answer. I took that question to my Clinical Director to find out what his response was, who guided me to the Tissue Type Lab Scientist who in turn explained to me the reason why Asian patients are waiting longer than Caucasian patients for a transplant. I took the answer back to my patients and explained the root cause behind it. The fact remains that our community is not helping each other and we need more Asian donors to match with Asian recipients to have a successful transplant outcome and there is an alarming scarcity of Asian organ donors. With my patients support I started relaying the same message to their families, friends and community members.
It was not an easy path to tread, but very rewarding as I witnessed the shift in individual’s attitude towards organ donation. This resulted in me being able to register more individuals on the organ donor register to save more lives through a concerted campaign. Even though I was doing my campaign in a voluntary capacity without any benefit, financial or otherwise, some of the well educated members had an impression that I have been paid for this role and there is some hidden agenda. Thankfully, most of the individuals were supportive and thought this is something we are doing to support our current and future generations.
Even though it was financially and physically draining journey, it satisfied my emotional and spiritual aspect as a nurse. I completed a Doctoral Study on the topic of “Increasing South Asian organ donors through targeted education” with very positive outcome. That’s why I said if you have passion, vision, dedication along with knowledge in the area where you want to make the change, you will be able to successfully act as a change agent. During the course of this voluntary work, I managed to potentially save more than 25,000 lives as I persuaded more than 3,000 (One deceased donor can potentially save 9 lives) potential organ donor registrants on to the NHS organ donor register. This rare achievement was made possible by voluntary community education. Now isn’t that worth a Nurse/Change Agents’ role!
Dr. Agimol Pradeep
Transplant Recipient Coordinator,
Kings College Hospital, London