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Transplant Team Roles

Transplant surgeon

This surgeon is responsible for removing the kidney from the donor and performing the transplant operation. He or she is oversees all aspects of your medical care during your hospital stay. Working with the transplant physicians, nurse coordinators, and surgical resident, he or she will examine your incision and monitor all of your laboratory values. In cooperation with the transplant physician, he or she will adjust your immunosuppressive medication before, during, and after surgery. Finally, the transplant surgeon is responsible for identifying and treating any complications which may arise.

Transplant physician

The transplant physician monitors all non-surgical aspects of your care. In cooperation with the transplant surgeon, he or she will adjust your medications after the surgery, while you are in the hospital, and later, in the clinic. He or she will monitor your kidney function to identify any problems, including rejection of the donated kidney, and will manage your other medical problems—such as hypertension (high blood pressure) and diabetes—while you are in the hospital.

Transplant coordinator

This licensed, registered nurse is your main contact person before and after the transplant surgery. This includes scheduling evaluation tests, evaluating potential kidney donors, monitoring the status of the donated kidney, calling you when a kidney becomes available, and keeping in touch with you after the transplant. The coordinator will also instruct you on how to stay healthy before and after your surgery. This usually involves instructions on diet, medicines, and follow-up appointments.

Dietitian

The dietitian is a licensed, registered clinician with special training in nutrition. He or she will create a customized diet plan to help you recover quickly, stay healthy, and avoid gaining too much weight after surgery. He or she will also assist you in losing weight before surgery, and managing your diet after the transplant.

Social worker

The social worker will help you and your family cope with the stress of a kidney transplant. He or she will offer links to community services, therapists, and other supports, and also check in on how your family is doing.

Financial planner

The financial planner will help you plan for the costs of a transplant. The planner estimates what the transplant and medications will cost, and will tell you what will be covered by insurance and/or Medicare. He or she can help you find any needed financial resources.

Specialized floor nurse

This registered nurse cares for you during your hospital stay, and will help you communicate with the other members of the transplant team before and after surgery. Transplant patients are cared for by a dedicated team of nurses who have received extra training in the care of transplant patients. They will assist you in learning your medications and recovering after your transplant.

Surgical house staff

Residents and other house staff will assist the transplant surgeons and physicians in your care. Their role is to see and evaluate you every day, assist with documentation, and carry out the plans of the attending transplant surgeon and physician. They will play an integral role during your time in the hospital. However, all final decisions are made by the attending staff.

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