What is a Transplant Nurse?

If you love working in a job that involves preparing for surgeries and providing post-surgical care, then a career as a transplant nurse may be the right choice for you. Transplant nurses play a key role in every stage of the transplant process.


In a normal workday, a transplant nurse may be performing the following tasks;

  • Educate transplant patients and potential donors about the impending surgery
  • Prepare transplant patients for surgery
  • Assist the surgeons during transplant and harvest procedures
  • Take care of patients before and after transplant procedures
  • Monitor transplant patients for signs of organ rejection, infection and other complications.
  • Complete documentation and other paperwork related to the transplant process
  • Explain discharge conditions and instructions to implant patients who want to leave the hospital

Job Requirements and Education

Transplant is a highly specialized field. It is thus important you start with the right education. You must at least pursue an associate degree program from an institution recognized by the Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing. This commission accredits all nursing education programs, including those offered at the associate, diploma, bachelor’s and master’s levels. Career advisers recommend aspiring transplant nurses to start with a Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree instead of an associate degree, as it improves your employment prospects and increases your chances of career advancement.

Next, you must apply for a registered nurse (RN) certification. You will have to sit for and pass the National Council Licensure Examination before you are considered qualified to obtain the RN credential. Once you obtain the credential, you must spend a considerable amount of time in the surgical department of a hospital to gain some experience and prepare for your Transplant Nurse Certification exam. The Transplant Nurse Certification exam tests your knowledge and understanding of the principles of transplant nursing. It is administered by the American Board for Transplant Certification.

Work Environment

Transplant nurses work in a highly stressful environment due to the nature of care they provide. A majority of them work in hospitals and other highly specialized medical facilities that offer surgical services. They do not work with a set schedule, since they have to be on duty to monitor patients at all times. Also, organs may become available from donors at odd hours.

Salary and Career Outlook

Transplant nurses are highly specialized nurses, so their salary is slightly higher than what a registered nurse would get. According to PayScale, certified clinical transplant nurses earn an hourly wage of $45.75. This translates to $95,160 per year. This salary makes them one of the best earning individuals in the nursing profession.

Apart from lucrative salaries, aspiring transplant nurses should expect to see a job growth of 19 percent over the next one decade. Though this is not as fast as other medical professions, it shows a fairly good future for aspiring transplant nurses.

Related Resource: How Do You Become a Forensic Nurse?

Transplant nurses work with patients who are donating or receiving organs. The job is potentially rewarding since it gives you the perfect opportunity to help others recover from potentially dangerous illnesses. You can become a transplant nurse as long as you have an RN certification and are willing to go through an intensive transplant training program.