Let’s face it, no employer wants to have to read through a bunch of resumes, sit through awkward interviews, and especially no one wants the tiresome task of training new hires on the ins and outs of how everything works. However, it is part of the job.
The transplant world is no different. Dare I say it; even worse. The world of organ transplant is a very complicated and detailed service of love and devotion to saving lives, but with that joy and reward comes tons of stress. With that stress creates a vacuum of shortages in qualified and good transplant coordinators. Transplant administrators and directors spend a large majority of their job making sure not only are their patients and families are happy but also their staff.
“Burnout is common in medicine, especially in high-pressure specialties like transplantation,” study co-author Dr. Marwan Abouljoud, director of the Henry Ford Transplant Institute, said in a Henry Ford Health System news release.
Transplant coordinators and surgeons experience an extremely high level of burn out and job turn over due to the work demands. The functions and duties that make up the daily life of a transplant coordinator’s stresses include: long and irregular hours, sleep deprivation, on call commitments, family interaction, difficulties working with other staff, poor quality of “off call” time, insufficient resources, and excessive workloads. As a result the subordinates of these staff members have been struggling ever sense with how to overcome burnout associated with the rigors of being a transplant coordinator. In an article published by Pubmed.gov from research done by Western Galilee Medical Center, Nahariya, Israel – All 26 transplant coordinators in Israel responded to a questionnaire in which they rated 12 statements concerning emotionality, control, responsibility and satisfaction.
The results were as follows: The three factors that influenced the burnout were (1) control, (2) the sense of satisfaction and self-realization, and (3) the sense of responsibility. In an ascending scale from 1-5 it was found that TC’s sense a high level of control (4.19 +/- 0.56), satisfaction (4.05 +/- 0.75) and responsibility (3.65 +/- 0.72). The mean level of a sense of burnout was relatively low (-2.25+/- 0.50). A significantly negative correlation was found between the feeling of control and the burnout level, as the sense of control was stronger the burnout was lower (p=0.005, r=-0.50). A medium-strong, significantly negative correlation between the sense of satisfaction and self-realization and the burnout level was found–as the satisfaction level increased the burnout level decreased. In an article by Mashable.com (Tell-Tale Signs your Employee is Overworked); “Overworked employees are also more likely to have drastically decreased productivity and play hooky than those who are satisfied with their workload. The overall result is clear: Overworked and stressed workers are never good for a company”.
A negative correlation, but a less intense relationship, was found between the sense of responsibility and the burnout level (p < 0.05). Conclusion: The medical organization’s management should be aware and sensitive to these facts in order to improve the work of the TC and to prevent job turnover. Lowering the burnout rate will hopefully lead to more organ donations and more lives saved.
Literature in the United States reflects a business-like approach to organ donation as reflected in the statement below written in an article by Adelaide University Hospital in Australia:
Historically the OPO’s employees were involved in procurement in order to “help” people. However, in this age of cost containment and healthcare reform, the business aspect can no longer be ignored (Tham Hoffman 1996 p.23).
To read the full article about transplant coordinator burnout click here.
So how can your facility reduce the chance of job turn over with your transplant coordinators? Yes; many times transplant administrators have their hands a little tied at times by the needs and wants of their surgeons, but there are a couple avenues they can explore to help keep their coordinators happier.
The most obvious and cost effective is to outsource your incoming donornet organ offers. By contracting other qualified experts to cover the incoming organ call and pre-screen responsibilities provides your coordinators and surgeons more time for valuable sleep, and less administrative waste. Transplant Coordinators of America Corporation is the most qualified answer to help fight the battle of coordinator turnover from burnout.
TCOA offers a multitude of customized programs tailored to the specific needs of each facility. We offer programs for 365/24/7, nights and weekends, or our new program where we work on a “pre-pay” PRN “as you need us” basis. Your facility can pay an upfront amount and then as you feel you might need assistance taking call you call on us to help and we deduct from your “account”. This particular program is very helpful during maternity leave, staff shortage, and expanded organ acceptance criteria.