A transplant coordinator has a really important role in the transplant process. There are three types of coordinators: pre-transplant, inpatient and post-transplant. I will explain the role for all of them but will put an emphasis on the role of post-transplant coordinator since this is what I do.
The pre-transplant coordinator is responsible for helping the process of putting patients on the wait list. They are usually responsible to enter patients info in the database (height, disease, labs, test results, medications, etc.) The purpose of that info is to build a packet with everything needed to present a patient to the patient selection committee. Once a patient has been cleared to be listed as a transplant candidate, they entered all info available into Unet (UNOS database) and the computer will rank the patient based on data entered and the type of organ needed.
They are also responsible to manage the wait list like updating new patients medical conditions in compliance with UNOS. Once a physician tells them to initiate a new patient evaluation, they are also responsible to make that everything that needs to be done is done.
The inpatient coordinator will round with the physician in the hospital and will plan discharge like coordinating teaching among other professionals such as pharmacist and dietitian. They will make sure the medication for home is approved by the insurance companies and do the prior-authorization as necessary. They will also provide updates to post-transplant coordinators about their current patients. They will write detailed notes to what happened to a patient while in the hospital to better facilitate follow up for the post-transplant coordinator.
The role of the post-transplant coordinator is very important for the long term survival of the program. A short definition of the job description would read as is: The goal is to help keep the patients alive. We are responsible for managing the post-transplant protocol that includes several tests, blood works and doctors visits. We have to make sure the patients stay on track with their protocol and all tests needed are scheduled. Once the tests are completed we help the physicians review the tests but they are ultimately responsible for making decisions.
We are the direct line of contact with physicians for the patients. They are instructed to call us with any issues they are experiencing at home and then we reviewed with the on-call physician. If tests or blood work are ordered, we have to make sure it is scheduled and then review the results with the medical team. This role is more clinical than the other coordinators.
We all have direct communication with the physicians and it is our duty to report any and all issues and our goal is to keep the patients free of complication (if possible) and alive as long as possible. We all have a bunch of reports to complete so we are in compliance with UNOS. It is a very stimulating but demanding job as our patients require constant monitoring and care. When we witness success stories, it makes the long hours worth it.