Readers: meet Patricia (Patti) Weaver, R.N., transplant procurement coordinator at Mayo Clinic’s campus in Jacksonville. Patti has a very interesting role with our transplant program, and we were so glad when she accepted our invitation to be interviewed for our blog. We hope you enjoy getting to know her a bit and learning just how integral her role is in bringing together transplant donors and recipients.
How long have you been at Mayo Clinic?
My career with Mayo Clinic is going on 20 years.
When I first started here, the liver transplant program was brand new. Before coming to Mayo I was a coordinator in region 3’s organ procurement organization (OPO), LifeQuest, working with donors and their families. That position is how I became familiar with Mayo’s program, as well as the opportunity to join this team, initially via a contracted role which was brought “in-house” in June 1999.
When the position was brought in-house, I was thrilled to be an official employee of Mayo Clinic. Everyone from the surgeons to the techs was just amazing. They were clinically efficient and delightful to work with, and they remain that way today.
What was your work experience prior to your job with LifeQuest?
My first job was working as a Registered Nurse in the Intensive Care Unit at a hospital with a level 1 trauma center. The experience exposed me to a lot of very sad yet rewarding patient cases that turned a loss into a situation that offered hope, through a transplant, to someone else. I really enjoyed working with the OPO coordinators at the time, so when there was an opening, I went for it.
What are the key functions of your job?
My job has evolved a lot over the years, primarily due to the growth of the transplant center at Mayo. When I started, the biggest part of my role was taking calls for organ donor offers. We would evaluate the donor over the phone and then pass on the information to the clinical teams. If Mayo accepted the offer, I would coordinate with the OPO and fly out with the procurement team to retrieve the organ.
As the program grew, and more organ programs were added to our transplant center, our roles expanded. We couldn’t keep up with the donor offers, so surgical techs were hired to serve as additional resources in retrieving organs and additional procurement coordinators were hired, too. Also over the years, the process of working with the OPOs has changed, and everything is electronic now rather than using the phone. UNET, an online system developed and managed by the Organ Procurement and Transplantation Network (OPTN), has so many capabilities for helping us match donors with recipients. For example, you can upload images of CT scans and x-rays so the team can view these anytime and anywhere.
Along with wearing my procurement coordinator hat, I’m also involved with the liver program and work closely with the pre-transplant coordinators. We are involved in the selection committee, listing the patients for transplant, and monitoring the waitlist. This has helped me deepen my understanding of the recipients, provides valuable information when evaluating the recipients listed on the organ donor match run when talking with the surgeon, and, ultimately, coordinating the procurement and transplant.
What’s the best part of your job?
Today there’s pretty limited time in terms of how long we have to evaluate the offer – we only have one hour to accept or decline. Sometimes we have several offers at once. So I take great pride and ownership in being as efficient as possible in moving through the necessary steps within that timeframe. No doubt, the best part of my job is when an offer comes through, we work through all the needed steps, and I get to place “the call” to the recipient with the news about their second chance.