A challenging and rewarding role

Look after our donor families and help save and improve the lives of others. Lucy Dames, Specialist Nurse - Organ Donation, explains why NHSBT is for her.

We work in a very unique role and are extremely well supported through our initial training and then any subsequent development we wish to undertake.

Lucy Dames

Specialist Nurse - Organ Donation

Lucy's story

I have been a Specialist Nurse Organ Donation (SNOD) for five and a half years. I initially worked in the South West team until January 2016 then transferred to the London team as I personally wished to relocate. Before becoming a SNOD I worked in intensive care, which is common for most SNODs. I worked in a major trauma unit in a hospital that also performed transplants. I was regularly exposed to the world of organ donation in that environment and realised it was a career that I wished to pursue.

My team of SNODs in London provides 24/7 cover across all the London hospitals. We are called to assess patients as potential organ donors and support the hospital staff through the process. We approach families to ask if they will agree to their loved ones becoming organ and tissue donors and provide the information to the families that they need to support them through their decision making.

As a Specialist Nurse - Organ Donation I know there is nothing I can do to save our donor patients, but I have the opportunity to save and improve the lives of others whilst supporting the donor families.

I have been able to complete an Institute of Leadership and Management (ILM) Level 3 course in leadership and management, which was funded by NHSBT. In 2013 I also took part in a charity concert for Transplant Sport as part of a choir made up from transplant recipients, donor families and healthcare staff involved in the organ donation and transplant field. We performed in Sheffield City Hall and got to meet Aled Jones.

We are regularly given the opportunity to take on individual projects in support of our role and to attend courses and conferences, including international ones. I am currently the Vice-Chair of the National Key Members board on the European Donation and Transplant Coordination organisation (EDTCO) a specialist section within the European Society for Organ Transplantation (ESOT). Through my work representing the UK within ESOT I have attended conferences in Croatia, Hungary and Brussels.

Because we work in such a unique and highly emotive role, colleagues become good friends - being able to share in the experience of having a 3am referral leads to a great sense of camaraderie.