ER Nurses Win Award for Tissue Donation Efforts

The emergency room nurses at Mercy Hospital were recently honored for their efforts in talking with families about tissue donation.

The group was given the 2012 tissue partner of the year award from LifeSource, a nonprofit organ and tissue donation organization that serves North Dakota, Minnesota, and South Dakota.

In October, hospital administrator Keith Heuser attended the North Dakota Hospital Association annual meeting.

“Unbeknownst to me, I was called up to the front of the room to accept an award that was actually yours,” Heuser told the nurses. “It was a great honor to do that. It gave me great pleasure to go up and accept the award on your behalf, but today I’m giving it to its rightful owners.”

ER nurse manager Alana Wendel said for anyone who dies in Mercy Hospital, the nurses facilitate tissue donation, through a contract with LifeSource, which is the organ procurement organization with which the hospital is affiliated.

“I think part of the reason we’re successful is because we’re all aware at how important organ donation is and tissue donation and how many people it can help,” she said. “And we are just the facilitators in that process.”

The nurses get the families of the deceased in contact with LifeSource officials and prepare the body for tissue donation.

For the last three complete years, the nurses have been 100 percent compliant with talking to patients and their families about organ and tissue donation for anyone who is eligible, Heuser said.

“We did have a case where a family did consent to tissue donation, and LifeSource has recognized that, “he said.

“It’s an honor to be a part of the tissue donation process because it saves and helps many people,” Wendel said. “And we do thank the families and patients for their gift of life.”