Someone who wants to become a transplant nurse will need to complete a nursing education and receive additional training in transplant nursing. There are a number of educational paths which can be pursued to be certified as a nurse, depending on the level of nursing which the student would like to practice. Once fully qualified, a transplant nurse should plan on taking continuing education to keep skills current and receive certifications which can increase employability.
Certification can be done through a diploma program such as one offered through a hospital. Students can also become registered nurses by completing an RN program. Another option is the bachelor of science in nursing (BSN) degree received through a four year program. A BSN is often recommended because it provides students with extensive training and clinical experience which will be valuable on a resume. Advanced study can culminate with a master's degree in nursing.
Once someone who wants to become a transplant nurse has qualified as a nurse, there are several options available. Some transplant nurses go to work on a transplant ward in a hospital immediately, gaining experience on the job working with patients. Others choose to pursue a fellowship or training program in transplant nursing which provides a more directed education. With experience, a person who wants to become a transplant nurse can apply for certification from an organization which accredits transplant nurses. This certification can be very valuable.
Some hospitals will only accept accredited transplant nurses to provide patient care for people who are receiving transplants or who are acting as living donors for individuals who need transplants. Certification for someone who intends to become a transplant nurse can be valuable because the scope of employment opportunities is widened. The certification also usually comes with access to trade publications, conventions, and other continuing education opportunities which can be used to further a nursing career.
Once one has become a transplant nurse it's also possible to pursue additional certification. Nurses may prefer to work with patients receiving particular types of transplants, to coordinate transplant care for a hospital, to be involved in outreach programs, or to work with donors and their families. Job experience in varied areas of the transplant process can be very important for someone interested in a transplant nursing career, as it will allow the student to understand all of the complexities of transplantation. This includes everything from identifying the need for a transplant to providing follow-up care for a patient after a successful transplant procedure.