Brain Death and Organ Donation: Knowledge, Awareness, and Attitudes of Medical, Law, Divinity, Nursing, and Communication Students

  • Kocaay A
  • Celik S
  • Eker T
 et al. 
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Abstract

Background Throughout the world, there is a shortage of suitable organs for organ transplantation. The aim of this study was to assess the level of knowledge, awareness, and attitudes of medical, law, divinity, nursing, and communication students, who will be involved in this issue in the future, regarding brain death and organ donation. Methods Data were collected with the use of a 30-item questionnaire. Results Of the 341 participants, 228 (66.8%) were female and overall average age was 21.6 ± 2.8 years. Nearly one-half of them (51.3%), especially nursing and medical students, wanted to be a donor, but only 2% had an organ donation card; 78.3% emphasized that family must have the right to make the decision for organ donation, and the vast majority of the participants considered that the organs could not be taken without any permission. Kidney and heart were the most commonly identified transplantable organs; the less frequently known organ was intestine. Only 71 participants, most of them medical, divinity, and law students, correctly answered all questions about brain death; 68.6% stated that organ donation is allowed by religion, and 5% expressed that it is religiously forbidden; 37.3% did not have confidence in health care policy. Law students were more confident, nursing students less confident. Conclusions Better understanding of organ donation and concepts by the doctors, nurses, legislators, religious officials, and mass communications professionals who will give direction to society's behaviors and beliefs would help to spread positive attitudes toward organ donation and transplantation in the public.

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