National Nurses Week 2019: Thank you for making donation possible!

Nurses play a crucial role in the donation process. From identifying potential donors and contacting the organ procurement organization, to monitoring a donor’s organ function and assisting with the procurement process, deceased organ donation simply wouldn’t be possible without the hard work and dedication of the critical care nurses we work with in our partner hospitals.

Additionally, nearly 40 employees at LifeCenter Northwest are registered nurses. This includes much of our organ recovery staff, tissue recovery team, and our clinical training program manager. Their knowledge and training in the clinical field is essential to our mission of saving lives.

In 1993, the American Nurses Association declared that one week in May should be recognized as the national week to celebrate and elevate the nursing profession. Each year, the celebration begins on May 6 and ends on May 12, Florence Nightingale’s birthday.

In honor of National Nurses Week, we would like to recognize a few nurses from across our region who were awarded the LCNW LifeSaver Award in recent months.

Kim Revels, April LifeSaver Award Winner

Kim Revels, RN, House Supervisor, Alaska Regional Hospital, Anchorage, AK

In donation, support from the care team is a key element to success. Recently, House Supervisor Kim Revel has made an incredible difference in our efforts to support donation at Alaska Regional Hospital.  Kim has always been a donor advocate for organ donation. She proactively collaborates with our team, schedules testing procedures as needed, and facilitates any last-minute requests to move a case along. Due to it’s remote location, facilitating donation in Alaska can be challenging. On a recent donation case, the family of the donor were supportive of donation, but they also wanted the process to move quickly. Due to flight restrictions for the LifeCenter surgical team there was a very tight window for recovery. This posed a number of challenges for the Alaska Regional OR, the
post-anesthesia care unit, and physician care team. During all of this, Kim took the reins and assisted with all the logistical challenges. Even when it appeared that the timing might not work and ultimately have to be changed, she smiled and said, “It is all going to work out.” Her hard work helped save two lives!

Wade Wagoner, March LifeSaver Award Winner

Wade Wagoner, Critical Care RN, Mercy Flight, Benefis Healthcare, Great Falls, MT

Making a donor referral call to the organ procurement organization is where the life-saving process of donation begins. Often times it is the nursing staff who are tasked with identifying potential donors and making this referral. As a critical care nurse for Benefis’ Mercy Flight program, Wade dedicates his time to patients both in the air and on the ground. In 2018, he made more timely organ referrals calls than any other staff member at Benefis Health. He also serves as a member of the Benefis Donor Council team. Through his collaboration on the council we have been able to helped identify areas of strength as well as opportunities for improvement to ensure donation opportunities are never missed. Wade’s commitment to donation and penchant for going the extra mile has helped make donation possible and given solace to many donor families.

Nicole Simons, February LifeSaver Award Winner

Nicole Simons, Nurse Manager, Emergency Department, Summit Pacific Medical Center, Elma, WA

Summit Pacific Medical Center doesn’t have an operating room or critical care unit. When there was a critically injured patient at the small hospital recently, the care team recognized that they could still help the patient provide the gift of life. Even though the donation wouldn’t happen at their own hospital, they were able to successfully stabilize the patient, place a referral call, and facilitate the transfer of the patient. From the beginning, Nicole showed extreme kindness and compassion while navigating the logistical challenges to ensure a successful transfer. As a result, this donor was able to to provide five people with a second chance at life.