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Transplant Hero: Wynne Chiu, Patient and Nurse Educator

There are a lot of people involved in the organ donation and transplant process in our province. From doctors and nurses, to dieticians and pharmacists—each and every one of them play a vital role in helping people in BC get a second chance at life.
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Wynne Chiu is one of those heroes.

What do you do? 

I have two parts to my role: Patient and Nurse Educator in the Heart Transplant Program at St. Paul’s Hospital (SPH). On the patient side, I’m responsible for coordinating transplant assessments for patients referred to the Pre-Heart transplant clinic and managing their care while they’re on the list. I also care for patients with ventricular assist devices (VADs) and am responsible for educating patients, families, and communities across BC so they can safely manage their device at home. In my Nurse Educator role, I provide education to the nurses in hospital units where VAD patients would be admitted. 

I’m only one part of a big collective—a team that is committed, passionate, and exemplary. I wouldn't be able to do any of my work without help from our incredible team at SPH:  The other clinic nurses, Clinical Nurse Specialists, our Program Assistant, Physicians, Psychologists, Social Worker, Dietitian, Pharmacist, and all the nurses who care for heart transplant and VAD patients. 

How long have you worked in organ donation/transplant? What made you want to work in this field?

I've worked with Acute Heart Failure/Pre Heart Transplant Program at St. Paul's Hospital since 2009. I’ve always been interested in organ transplantation, as my late grandmother had received the incredible gift of a donated kidney.

I know transplantations have been around for decades, but the concept still fascinates me. I love the history of it, and the future it holds. It’s a captivating field. I'm always learning something new and eight years into the job, I’m still excited to go to work every day. 

What do you enjoy most about what you do? What’s most rewarding?

I enjoy the patient interactions the most. When patients are referred to us, they’re often at the lowest, most vulnerable point in their lives. I feel very privileged that patients and their families let me in, trust me with their care, and allow me to help navigate them through the transplant process. 

The most rewarding is when they receive their heart transplant; to see them resume their life, and get back to the person they were before they got sick. Some patients feel like you've gone through a battle with them—and they don’t forget you even when they’re no longer under your care. Seeing them grow through different walks of life— marriage, families growing, becoming grandparents—it’s a privilege to be part of their lives and their journey.

Share your story

Do you know a transplant hero? We want to hear from you! Share your stories on social media using the hashtag #TransplantHero or submit them here for a chance to be featured on our website.

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