A Day in the Life of a Transplant Coordinator


Kidney transplant clinics benefit from the work of kidney transplant coordinators. These professionals help facilitate the finding of matches, contact between all parties involved and travel planning, so patients and willing donors can more quickly get matched and have the life-saving surgery. The Alliance for Paired Kidney Donation’s matching algorithm makes the job of a transplant coordinator a little easier and more fulfilling. We recently sat down with one to discuss what daily life looks like. Here are some insights into a day in the life of a transplant coordinator.

The Daily Schedule

A transplant coordinator’s daily schedule varies depending on how many transplants occur that day. On a busy day, it can start as early as 6 am or end as late as 1 am the next morning. The coordinator is responsible for registration, reporting, conducting match runs using the database software, scheduling transplants and training new centers and coordinators on how to use the software to facilitate their matches.

Because the work is so varied, transplant coordinators rarely have a set daily schedule. The tasks they do daily include reading and responding to emails, finding matches through the APKD platform and finding matches. Much of this is desk work, rather than face-to-face patient interactions

Patient and Donor Contact

The amount of patient contact depends on the role of the coordinator. Those who work as clinical coordinators will have quite a bit of patient contact. Others, like the one we spoke with, work behind the scenes. They may have contact with patients, but the majority of the work is gathering documents, making matches and making referrals.

The Most Challenging Part of the Work

Finding kidney transplant matches is tricky. The coordinator we spoke with uses the APKD software to conduct match runs three days per week. Once the program finds a match, there are other factors that can cause it to fall through. Thus, much of the work is circulating back to try to find a new match or overcome a specific challenge. The coordinator must be able to think on their feet in order to work with these obstacles when they arise.

The Most Rewarding Part of the Work

While there are challenges, working as a treatment coordinator is quite rewarding. The most obvious reward is the hope that life-giving kidney transplant matches provides. This transplant coordinator felt very fulfilled when finding matches for people that are “hard to match,” and the Alliance for Paired Kidney Donation platform makes that easier. There is also a network of coordinators and other transplant professionals that keep each other connected, informed and encouraged. Transplant day text messages, a key indicator that the work done led to a saved life, are a true highlight of the work.

Working as a transplant coordinator is never boring. It requires thinking on your feet, working long hours some days and a varied schedule. Yet the payoff when people can find a match and get a kidney that will save their life is worth the long hours and dedication.