The Emotional Labor of the Transplant Coordinator: An Inherent Predicament

Ya'arit Bokek-Cohen, Mahdi Tarabeih

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


Although extensive scholarship has been dedicated to the emotional experiences of transplant patients, little is known about the emotional experiences of transplant coordinators. The present article aims to illuminate the phenomenon of emotional labor invested by transplant coordinators. The transplant coordinator is a key person in the process of obtaining consent for organs for transplantation from deceased or living donors. One of the most taxing phenomena among nurses is emotional labor. Emotional labor is a term that denotes the investment of emotional effort to reach a consonance between one's inner authentic feelings and outward expression of one's emotions. Thirteen experienced transplant coordinators were interviewed for the purpose of unveiling their work-related feelings and emotions. Analysis of their narratives revealed 3 types of emotional labor based on the taxonomy proposed by Theodosius: therapeutic, instrumental, and collegial. Findings show that much emotional labor is invested by these nurses. Emotional labor is usually stressful and has an adverse effect on nurses’ psychological well-being and health, especially when emotions that are not genuinely felt have to be conveyed. Transplant coordinators must fake their emotional expressions to excel in their job. Their job is psychologically taxing, leading in most cases to regret over choosing this job. Implications for research, policy, and practice include a recommendation that transplant unit managers act to help transplant coordinators avoid the painful emotions that accompany the experience of emotional labor. We provide several useful recommendations about how to alleviate and prevent these negative emotions.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1846-1852
Number of pages7
JournalTransplantation Proceedings
Issue number6
StatePublished - 1 Jul 2021
Externally publishedYes

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© 2021 Elsevier Inc.


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