Only RN’s Need Apply?

In our search practice, we have noticed some indications of what may prove to be a trend with great significance in the field of transplant administration.

In the beginning, most transplant administration tasks were managed by nursing personnel.  As the field of transplantation grew, transplant administrators were hired with management education and experience but without any direct clinical experience.  Many of these latter administrators came from the ranks of non-clinical hospital administration personnel.  Others came from “outside” the ranks of health care management.  Both these “insiders” and “outsiders” lacked nursing/clinical experience. Then, there was the emergence of a class of transplant administrators with formal education in management (healthcare or otherwise) with clinical experience, typically a RN or BSN.

Today’s healthcare landscape is complex and constantly changing.  Two influences that we believe have had an impact on the field of transplant administration are magnet designation and diminishing reimbursement.  Many hospitals are achieving or seeking magnet status and that requires that nurses report to nurses. This, along with fiscal cost cutting has led hospitals (particularly smaller ones) to seek nurses with management backgrounds in order to combine clinical management and administrative management into one position. This trend may well lead to the exclusion of transplant administrators who lack a nursing background.  Clearly, a corollary of that assumption is that only nurses would be considered qualified to manage a hospital’s transplant program.

Others must examine the depth of that trend to verify its existence and its long-term implications.  One obvious challenge would arise if an entire class of candidates were to be excluded because of a lack of a nursing degree.  The population of qualified personnel-with or without nursing education-is limited enough as conditions now stand.  Further narrowing the field of candidates would appear to threaten a further reduction in the pool of talented people who can and will work to achieve the best objectives of a transplant program.

Trends are comparable to the wind-it may signal a major change, a minor change or it may disappear.

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