In the United States, there are more than 113,000 people on the national transplant waiting list (Health Resources & Services Administration [HRSA], 2019b). The number of people on the waiting list is much larger than the number of donors or transplants. Misinformation or lack of organ donation education results in a decreased number of registered organ donors. A systematic review of the literature identified gaps in the knowledge base regarding organ donation education in the primary healthcare setting. Healthcare providers are trusted sources of information for patients and families and must provide education on the sensitive topic of organ donation. The purpose of this study was to determine if adult patients in the community setting lack basic knowledge regarding organ donation, how knowledge is received, and if there are identifiable factors that affect beliefs regarding organ donation. Ajzen’s Theory of Planned Behavior Model was selected to form the theoretical foundation for the purpose of the study. The theory is intended to explain all human behaviors over which people may have the ability to exert self-control, such as the decision to become a registered organ donor or the decision to not become a registered organ donor (LaMorte, 2019).

The researchers initially planned to administer surveys within four primary care clinics in Mississippi during the clinic check in process. Due to the Coronavirus pandemic leading to more telemedicine visits rather than in-person clinic visits, the method of data collection changed. The researchers conducted a quantitative study utilizing a self-developed 18 item questionnaire. The questionnaire inquired about demographic information, knowledge related to organ donation, how organ donation knowledge is received, current organ donor status, and influences that may have contributed to beliefs regarding organ donation. The questionnaire was distributed online through the researchers’ personal social media sites using a Google Forms survey and was accessible via a web-link for patients 18 years and older to anonymously complete. The goal of 400 respondents was achieved. Eighty-six percent of respondents were aged 25 to 60 years old. Most respondents were Caucasian females and highly educated, which also serves as a limitation of the study due to the lack of generalizability of results.

Descriptive statistics, correlational analysis, and selected reliability measures were used to determine answers to the research questions. The results conclude approximately 34% of respondents scored less than 80% on the knowledge quiz, meaning there is a lack of knowledge regarding organ donation in the community setting. Approximately 86% of respondents are already registered organ donors. A statistically significant correlation was found to exist between higher performance on the knowledge portion of the quiz and currently being registered as an organ donor. This study suggests the more educated a person is on organ donation, the more likely the individual is to be a registered organ donor.

The majority of participants did feel like routine organ donation education by a healthcare provider could be beneficial. The study is useful in terms of education for the primary healthcare setting. Healthcare providers could use the results from the study to develop ways to obtain and provide needed education. Optimistically, with proper education, there will be more registered organ donors and additional available organs for transplantation.


Master of Science in Nursing (MSN)


Graduate Nursing

Degree Date


First Advisor

Dr. Teresa Hamill

Second Advisor

Dr. Shonda Phelon

Third Advisor

Dr. Brandi Lambert

Document Type