Donna Allen, who is a Specialist Nurse Organ Donation (SNOD) at Walsall Manor Hospital, says making a decision to donate organs is a "brave and heroic" choice and is working with colleagues to promote Organ Donation Week, which runs until Sunday.
This year’s campaign, with the theme "Leave Them Certain", aims to encourage people to talk to their loved ones about organ donation through highlighting that families are always involved before organ donation goes ahead.
“At the heart of the role, for me, are the families we support through the most difficult of times as well as ensuring the best end of life care is provided and saving lives through the gift of organ donation," said Donna.
“Making a decision to donate your organs after your death is a brave and heroic choice which can save and improve the lives of many others.
"It can provide comfort to families – leaving a lasting legacy for those we leave behind.
"That is why sharing your wishes about organ donation with your loved ones is so important.
"It helps those in this unique situation support a decision that you have made and leaves them certain about your choices."
Donna said that only around one per cent of those who die each year in England are eligible to donate their organs, "which surprises many".
Usually these people are cared for in the intensive care unit, theatre recovery or emergency department.
"This is because to safely donate organs the person at the end of their life needs to be on a ventilator," she said.
“It is only once the decision has been made that a person cannot survive their critical illness that a referral to the organ donation team is made and the specialist nursing team will then assess if the patient is suitable.
"It is after an assessment, if the patient is suitable, that the team will speak with families and support them as part of a holistic discussion about end of life care. “
Donna, who took up her SNOD role just under a year ago, has always worked in critical care and has been a nurse, sister, critical care outreach nurse and clinical educator/practice development nurse prior to her latest role, which she describes as “vast and multi-faceted.”
She says there are many reasons why she loves her job.
“I have the unique privilege to be a part of this journey for the donors and their families and hear amazing stories from recipients," she said.
"The organ transplants that take place due to the selfless choice our donors and families make is an amazing gift.
"Giving the gift of life to another is one of the most selfless and heroic choices a person can make.
“It is known that many of us would take an organ if we needed one but it takes a special person to give this gift to others.
"I hope organ donation week will raise awareness of the wonderful gift of life and encourage people to make a choice about their end of life wishes and share them with loved ones.”