Importance of Including Eye, Organ, and Tissue Donation Education in Healthcare

Because It Can Save Lives

By Ryeá O’Neill - January 30, 2024

Sitting in the back of the classroom at Cheyenne Regional Medical Center’s East Campus after their class, Lyndsey laughed with the nurse residents (newly licensed Registered Nurses) at a lighthearted comment. She thought about this class and how they seemed genuinely engaged in learning and enjoyed the hands-on experience they’d gained.

Reflecting on her 14½ years with Cheyenne Regional Medical Center (CRMC), Lyndsey has seen many types of nurses come through these doors, each with different styles and passions. Lyndsey has always loved teaching as she moved from her beginnings as a floor nurse to a PRN charge nurse, or nurse who works “as the need arises” on the medical floor and then branched out to teaching different types of clinical nursing through the local community college. Wanting to gain more experience, Lyndsey also worked at the local Veteran’s Administration Cheyenne health care hospital in their ICU for about 2 years.

After a short time on the electronic health records team, Lyndsey realized she missed being bedside with patients. Lyndsey took on the role of Clinical Nurse Educator and held that role for five years until she became the Nurse Residency Program Director at CRMC in 2021. As the program director, she assists with the transition of new graduate nurses from academia to practice, with mentorship and educational classes.

“I really struggled as a new nurse and my goal is to ensure that no other nurse struggles like I did,” Lyndsey said.

Continuing Education in Healthcare

The Nurse Residency Program at CRMC is one year long and includes 12 different classes covering a multitude of things, from policies and procedures to soft-skills to resiliency and even an evidence-based practice project. Lyndsey is proud of the success of their program and believes it has helped with nurse retention, especially during tough times like the COVID pandemic.

Teaching and training adults can be difficult. Lyndsey understands this and has made it a passion of hers to connect with her RN students.

“I personally think the biggest key to teaching and training adults is to remember that each person comes to your class with some type of experience. Whether it be with that subject in a professional or personal matter, every adult brings come type of experience to the table,” Lyndsey advised.

Why is Continuing Education Important in Healthcare?

Continuing education is essential in healthcare because the field is constantly changing. To stay current on science- and evidence-based practices, nurses must continue to train and take classes. Why? Because patients deserve the best care nurses can give them. Nurses must constantly be learning.

Most organizations provide continued education and training for their staff. Partner organizations are also key factors in helping to stay current on best practices in healthcare.

One example of this partnership collaboration is the inclusion of eye, organ, and tissue donation education in the Nurse Residency Program curriculum. During the one-year program, Lyndsey invites staff from Donor Alliance and RMLEB to teach donation education to the nursing students. It’s an important piece of the curriculum because no matter what unit the nurse residents work on, they’ll receive knowledge about how to handle donation protocols. The nurse residents also learn basic myths about donation and learn about the state donor registry.

Many new nurses do not understand how the donation process works in hospitals. Offering this education gives them the chance to learn and freely ask questions. The more knowledge nurses have and the more aware they are of the donation process, the more it will help recovery agencies and donor families when a donation occurs.

Plus, eye, organ, and tissue donation education can be lifesaving! Did you know that just one person can save and heal more than 75 other lives by giving through eye, organ and tissue donation after death?

By donating your corneas, or eye tissue, you can restore sight to two people and help them see the beauty of the world around them, like Jacob did. Jacob, a special needs child, who passed away in 2015 and was able to donate his corneas and give the gift of sight to others.

jacob wanser, cornea donor, with his brother and mother sitting outside

Opportunity for You Too!

If you would like to include eye, organ, and tissue donation education into your current curriculum or program, let us know! We have presented at local Lions Clubs, community colleges, medical centers, nursing programs, continuing education programs, local church groups, and more. The possibilities are endless.

Also, sharing your decision on eye, organ and tissue donation with those closest to you is an important discussion to have. Whether it’s with your loved ones, co-workers, or friends, don’t put it off!

Connect with us and let’s add eye, organ, and tissue donation education to your program. Email us today at info@corneas.org or call 800-444-7479.

Like Lyndsey says, “When caring for humans, we must consistently be learning.”

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