As a Specialist Nurse – Organ Donation Kirsty Lazenby deals with death and life on a daily basis, building relationships between staff, patients and families at Walsall Manor Hospital.
Kirsty’s role is to identify patients that may be suitable organ donors which means she liaises with many distressed relatives at the most traumatic time in their lives. And while this can be difficult, she also works closely with recipient families which she describes as “incredibly positive.”
With a background in Intensive Therapy, spent working in Stoke, Kirsty joined Walsall Healthcare NHS Trust in January this year.
“No two days are the same, “ she explained. “My job is about building relationships with all of the people involved in organ donation, a subject that people can find an uncomfortable topic to discuss.
“I work with staff to help them identify patients who may be suitable for organ donation and very often we’re having a conversation of this nature for the very first time with relatives. It can be difficult as broaching the subject comes at a time when they are understandably distraught and in shock. In some cases their loved one’s death may be sudden – following an accident for example – and they haven’t had time to prepare as a family for the impact this will have.
“This is why it’s so important for us all to discuss organ donation with our loved ones so that their wishes are known and respected.
“I also see the extremely positive effect that organ donation has on recipients and their families. It really does give people their lives back or a new lease of life and this is what makes my job so rewarding.”
Mother-of-one Kirsty, aged 31, would like to see organ donation become “the norm” with people having to opt out. MPs have backed a Bill to change the rules to an “opt out” system. After passing its second reading, the Bill will now be scrutinised and will have to pass through the House of Lords before it can be brought into play.