Stories from our members...
charlie alexander, president and ceo, the living legacy foundation
I was a very inexperienced coordinator in the late 1990’s and NATCO provided me the best opportunity to meet other transplant professionals from across the country, to share the stories of “what’s working”, what is not, and how differing OPOs handle different situations. For as informative as the educational sessions were, there was no substitute for informal conversations that took place allowing for free flow exchange of information. A few short years after my time at the Intro Course, and after a few Annual Meetings, I was offered the chance to be on the faculty for training, and later a Board position. After a few more years of experience I was able to serve as NATCO President, an opportunity that later opened doors for me to grow within my OPO, and with other important organizations like AOPO and UNOS. I am forever grateful for the chance to learn and share with colleagues at NATCO, and beyond the professional growth, lifelong friendships were formed. Everyone should explore what’s available through NATCO.
Jan Finn, President and CEO, Midwest Transplant Network
As the President and CEO for Midwest Transplant Network, my role remains to care for the donor families and potential recipients, yet in a different way. I began my nursing career with the goal to care for others and a real desire to have a career that offered many opportunities. I never considered donation and transplantation in the beginning, just the options available in nursing. In my first six months of work at MTN, I had the opportunity to attend the NATCO Introductory Course in Tempe, AZ. I was amazed at how much I needed to learn since I came to my role from the critical care nursing environment. It was the perfect, stimulating setting and I was excited to learn from the best national leaders. I still remember the lectures and preparation I received to later pass my CPTC exam. At the course, I met one of my long-time colleagues, Patti Niles, who now as the President and CEO for Southwest Transplant Alliance, is leading her staff to new records for saving lives. I was privileged to teach at the Intro Course, help create the Hospital Development course with my good friend, Charlie Alexander and later serve on the NATCO board. I am honored to know I was a part of leading the association by serving on the board and later as the President. MTN valued NATCO long before I came, and continues to depend on the training and programs offered for our community. We continue to send all staff to the Introductory Courses and Annual meeting and support them in sharing their experiences to help improve donation and transplantation.
I stand by my decision to care for others in a manner of leading a team who directly cares for the donors and their families. This staff can only do it with knowledge and experience. NATCO continues to provide superb opportunities for our staff to learn new skills when they begin their donation careers, and keep them engaged by their involvement in sharing best practices, research studies and collaborating with professionals from across the U.S. and beyond. I am proud of my involvement. I will be there along side our staff to learn and collaborate with my professional colleagues. I endorse education and know while there are many options to learn and grow, I also know NATCO serves as an education source and donation advocate at the highest level.
F. Danyel gooch, lung coordinator, indiana university health
I have been a member of NATCO since I started as a lung transplant coordinator. My first experience with NATCO, outside the journal, was the Intro Course. It’s been 20 years and I still remember this course. I still speak to some of the people that I went to the course with all those years ago. A few years later I had the opportunity to start teaching the Intro Course myself. During the time that I was teaching and the years since, I developed relationships with transplant professionals all across the country. The relationships that I developed through NATCO have added so much value that it cannot be expressed adequately in words and cannot be given an appropriate monetary value. NATCO is different from every other transplant organization in that it brings the clinical and procurement professionals together. While I value the staff of Indiana Donor Network, the opportunity to ask questions of procurement coordinators from across the country wouldn’t be possible without the networking opportunities provided by NATCO. Lung Transplant is a small community within transplant. I have been blessed to get to know lung transplant coordinators as well. NATCO was the kick start to my transplant profession and the catalyst that spurred my continued growth. I will be forever grateful for what NATCO has given me.
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