Colquitt Regional Nurse Completes Life Link Donor Resource Training Program

MOULTRIE, Ga. – Colquitt Regional Medical Center is proud to announce that Renee Ellenberg, BSN, RN, CMSRN, recently completed the LifeLink of Georgia Donor Resource Training Program. Ellenberg, who serves as the director of the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) and Progressive Care Unit (PCU) has been at Colquitt Regional for 18 years and is a part of the critical care team at the hospital.

LifeLink of Georgia is a federally designated, independent, non-profit organ and tissue recovery organization dedicated to serving patients in need of transplant therapy and their families. During these training programs, hospital attendees are trained in the donation process, allowing them to be additional resources at their respective hospitals with referrals, donor management of cases, and family care.

Donor Resource Programs by LifeLink are a departure from the traditional collaborative conferences with hundreds of attendees and broad topics about donation. These programs are limited to a small number of nurses, selected by LifeLink staff, hospital directors, and hospital management teams. They are intentionally kept small to allow for more in-depth discussions. 

The Donor Resource Role allows the hospital clinical staff to represent an in-depth knowledge base for nurse colleagues, ensure referral protocols are consistent with state and federal regulatory standards, identify and initiate timely referrals, assist with measures to address missed or late referrals, facilitate communication and supportive team huddles during donor cases, implement the use of process improvement tools, and understand their hospital’s compliance performance through data.

“Organ donation is always a difficult-yet-beautiful process that our hospital experiences from time-to-time,” said Colquitt Regional President and CEO Jim Matney. “The nature of the process is why it is imperative for our team to be as prepared and equipped as possible to handle these cases when they arise. Renee has been an invaluable leader to our ICU/PCU units. This training will allow her to provide informed insight and up-to-date resources to the critical care team and the rest of the Colquitt Regional family.”

According to LifeLink, one organ and tissue donor can save up to eight lives and improve dozens more through donation. The donation process first involves a potential donor being referred by a hospital to its local organ procurement organization (OPO). The OPO then evaluates to determine if a donation is possible. If a donation is possible, the OPO checks the applicable donor registry to determine if the potential donor is registered. 

The OPO then meets with the donor’s family to discuss and confirm plans and to review the patient’s medical and social history. Once this is complete, the search for transplant recipients is initiated. Donors are matched by blood type, weight, age, severity of patient illness, and time on the waiting list. When a match is found, the organ recovery process begins. After the organ donation is complete, if the individual is also a tissue donor, tissue recovery will then take place.

While every donor and donation process is unique, there is a set category of organs and tissues that are eligible to be donated, depending on the donor, including the heart, liver, kidneys, lungs, pancreas, small intestine, corneas, skin, heart valves, tendons, bones, veins, and cartilage.

“Each year more than 33,000 men, women, and children benefit from the gift of organ and tissue donation,” said Hospital Authority Chairman Richard E. Turner, Jr. “Last year, Colquitt Regional facilitated one organ donation, which saved four lives, and two tissue donations. When a patient at our hospital chooses to donate, we carry out an ‘honor walk’ to thank and honor the patient who has chosen to donate their organs and/or tissue. Our employees line the halls from the patient elevators to the entrance of the operating room and stand reverently as the patient is taken to have their procedure completed. While it is always a solemn occasion, our hospital is grateful to those who have chosen to ‘give life’ through organ donation.”

For more information on organ donation at Colquitt Regional, please contact the marketing department at 229-890-3552.


Caption: Colquitt Regional recently announced that Renee Ellenberg, BSN, RN, CMSRN, participated in the LifeLink of Georgia Donor Resource Training Program, where she was trained in the donation process, allowing her to be an additional resource at with referrals, donor management of cases, and family care. Pictured are Colquitt Regional employees participating in an “honor walk” where they line the hallway to the operating room where a patient will undergo the organ donation process.