BACKGROUND: The number of organs available for transplantation in the United States is insufficient, and the donor rate in New Jersey is particularly low. OBJECTIVES: To explore reasons nurses do or do not refer organ donors and to identify factors that contribute to differences in referral rates in New Jersey and Pennsylvania. METHODS: Registered nurses (N = 976) in 57 nongovernmental acute care hospitals, primarily in emergency departments and intensive care units, completed a questionnaire that focused on their knowledge and participation in the organ procurement process. RESULTS: Two-thirds of the subjects said they had participated in organ procurement. Pennsylvania nurses had a significantly higher involvement rate than New Jersey nurses. Pennsylvania nurses were also slightly more knowledgeable about the process. A higher proportion of nurses in both states who attended continuing education programs participated. CONCLUSIONS: Nurses need more inservice education regarding policies and procedures for organ donation.

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