The critical shortage of donated organs is the most important limitation on saving lives and improving quality of life through organ transplantation. For example, in Japan, more than two thousand patients die annually while they are on the waiting list for a transplant. Earlier studies have found that the number of organ donations depends heavily on the decision of the donor family made in the in-hospital organ donation process. In-hospital coordinators, who are tasked with smooth implementation of the in-hospital process, are also involved in the donor family decision-making process. Thus accomplishing their coordinating tasks with a high degree of professionalism is known to be critical in increasing the number of organ donations.
In this study, we collected data from 370 in-hospital coordinators in 38 countries through an online questionnaire survey, and studied professionalism for in-hospital coordinators using a structural equation modeling approach. We identified the following five dimensions of professionalism for in-hospital coordinators: pursuit of excellence, self-regulation, devotion to the job, accountability, and social responsibility. Among the five factors, we found that the only pursuit of excellence leads to a higher rate of organ donation as well as a great sense of achievement for in-hospital coordinators. The results of our data analysis with follow-up interviews suggested that, in order to achieve a higher rate of organ donation, organizations should provide in-hospital coordinators with autonomy, peer recognition, feedback on the outcomes of organ transplants, and opportunities to educate other staff involved in the in-hospital organ donation process.