Intensive Care Nurses’ Experiences of Caring during the Organ Donor Process in Sweden: a Qualitative Study

E. Gripewall, B. Kerstis, Gunilla Björling, Janet Mattsson, M. Widarsson, L. Nyholm, L. Fagerström

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: The organ donor process is challenging, not at least for intensive care nurses. The situation changes radically, from intensively working to save the patient’s life to instead caring for the donor patient’s organs so that those, in turn, can save another patient’s life. The donation process challenges nurses’ view on what dignified caring at end-of-life entails. The inner core of caring comprises love, mercy and compassion. Dignified caring is related to treating the patient as a unique human being and respecting human value, rooted in the theory of caritative caring that is the framework for this study.   

: The aim was to illuminate intensive care nurses’ experiences of caring during the organ donor process, from a caring science perspective.

Methodology: A descriptive research design including inductive qualitative content analysis of interviews with twelve intensive care nurses in Sweden about their experiences of caring during the donor process.

Results: The theme The complexity of caring during the organ donor process with two categories and five subcategories was generated. Intensive care nurses experienced caring during the donor process as being complex in relation to the potential donor patient and patient’s family as well as communication, teamwork and organization. Caring affects not only the patient and families, but also the nurses and receivers of the donated organs. Intensive care nurses perceive the other’s life situation as if it were their own and recognize the importance of shared humanity.

Conclusion: The present study can increase knowledge from intensive care nurses and the caring team, in order to provide better conditions such as the development of effective intervention strategies in the process of organ donor care as well as caring for the families and members of the team.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)720-726
Number of pages7
JournalInternational Journal of Caring Sciences
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2022
Externally publishedYes

Swedish Standard Keywords

  • Nursing (30305)


  • Brain Death
  • Caring
  • Experiences
  • Intensive Care Nurses
  • Organ Donor Process

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