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Gift of Life Milestone: More than 5,000 Hospital Staff Educated at Gift of Life Donor Program'

This year, on February 27, Gift of Life Donor Program has educated its 5,000th participant in the Donation Champion Learning Sessions, a highly interactive program that teaches hospital staff best practices about referring potential donors and supporting families who are going through the donation process.

Philadelphia, PA - Gift of Life Donor Program - the non-profit, federally designated organ procurement organization (OPO) serving the eastern half of Pennsylvania, southern New Jersey and Delaware – announced that the organization educated its 5,000th participant in their Donation Champion Learning Sessions, a highly interactive program that teaches hospital staff best practices about referring potential donors and supporting families who are going through the donation process.

Donation Champion’s 5,000th participant, Margaret Moran, attended the February 27th session, held at Gift of Life’s Philadelphia location. She joined more than 80 others, from 22 hospitals in the region, to learn about the role of critical care staff in giving families the opportunity to donate the gift of life. Moran, an OR Nurse and Manager for Aria Health, Torresdale, said, “I waited two years to be able to attend a Donation Champion Learning Session. There is such a high demand to get into these sessions that every time they are offered, registration fills up quickly.” She expressed her gratitude for having the opportunity to learn about donation and is excited to share this information with her colleagues. I have worked with many Transplant Coordinators and have always had good experiences. Being able to participate in this Learning Session was amazing and I learned more than I could have imagined.”

Donation Champion Learning Sessions were created to educate ICU and ER healthcare providers and has grown significantly since the program began in 2005. Gift of Life has noticed that when hospital staff members are knowledgeable about the organ donation process, there are a higher number of organ donors. Gift of Life is proud to have had the opportunity to reach this milestone of having trained more than 5,000 healthcare professionals throughout the eastern half of Pennsylvania, southern New Jersey and Delaware.

Gift of Life Transplant Coordinator, Elizabeth Brown, RN, BSN, CPTC, said, “Donation Champion Learning Sessions are a great way to build relationships and bring people out of their hospital units to educate them in a comfortable environment. The sessions give them an opportunity to really see what we do and gain a deeper understanding about donation and how it saves lives.”

These sessions also give participants insight into the personal impact that organ donation has through hearing the perspectives and stories of Donation Champion’s panel of medical experts, transplant recipients, and donor families who share their stories. Jessica Fuller, BSN, RN, CCRN, an Assistant Nurse Manager, MICU at Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania, believes that this program is a great way for nurses to see the big picture and understand the other side of donation. At the February 27th session, she served as a faculty speaker on the closing expert panel discussion. “I am always touched by the personal stories of transplant recipients and donor families. These stories really hit home and put a face to donation. They are the key to providing hospital staff members with a better understanding of how patients on both ends of the donation spectrum are part of the same circle of care.”

Fuller has a personal connection to transplantation. As a nurse, she cared for Kathi Clapham, a double lung transplant recipient. She watched Kathi navigate the journey of transplantation and witnessed the awe-inspiring gift of life that donation is. “I am amazed by Kathi. She is so active and such a great person to show the life-saving benefits of donation. Allowing people to hear these amazing stories about transplant recipients’ success really helps to raise awareness and increase support of donation.”

According to Gweneth O’Shaughnessy, Gift of Life Hospital Services Director, “Gift of Life’s Hospital Services Department is directly responsible for the success of these programs. They are integral to cultivating and coaching faculty speakers and making sure that every person who attends a session has all of their questions answered and has a memorable experience. These programs would not be possible without their leadership and commitment.”

Gift of Life Donor Program encourages those who want to make the commitment to donate to register online at www.donors1.org. For more information on organ and tissue donation or the Donation Champion Learning Sessions, please call Gift of Life at 1-800-DONORS-1 (1-800-366-6771) or visit at www.donors1.org.

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