Featured CTBS - Michelle Post
Image courtesy of Michelle Post.
Becoming CTBS Certified
When I became Manager of Donor Family Aftercare for OneLegacy in 2013, Prasad Garimella, OneLegacy’s COO, challenged all leadership to become CTBS certified to better serve our tissue donor families, our tissue recipients, and the community. Given my mental health background, my journey to CTBS certification was likely longer than most. In 2014, I focused on learning about my colleague’s duties in tissue authorization and procurement, as well as, the unique needs of donor families and hospital partners. In 2015, I started studying for CTBS exam. I took the AATB and MTF classes to prepare. I learned so much about the procurement process and even more about the distribution process. I studied hard and took the exam in fall of 2015. I was grateful for all of my preparation because I passed on my first attempt!
How do you think becoming CTBS certified has helped you in your career?
Becoming CTBS certified is a must for all staff involved with tissue procurement and distribution.
- Understanding authorization: There are many screening questions and timing issues that affect how a donor family experiences the donation process. The CTBS exam prepares one to understand the standards for the highest quality of tissue processing and distribution. It helps staff and leadership address donor family questions and concerns with professionalism and depth. Before the CTBS exam, I lacked the knowledge to speak clearly, simply, and with confidence on these matters. After being certified, I had a great depth of understanding of the complex steps involved in recovery and processing.
- Understanding after recovery: Donor families often have many questions about recovery and reconstruction, types of tissue, tissue uses, quality assurance, and how to communicate with recipients. Becoming a Certified Tissue Banking Specialist aided me in being able to walk a family step-by-step through their concerns and questions. Now, I could speak with clarity and confidence about recovery and distribution. This helped reassure families I spoke with that their donor was treated with respect and care and that transplants only occur when tissue is safe for a recipient.
- Understanding aftercare: Aftercare professionals often get questions years after donation. The CTBS exam actually helped me understand the steps involved in distribution. I was able to change my formal CTBS knowledge into plain language that reassured families about their loved one’s donation and transplant recipients.
- Understanding risk-management: The knowledge I gained as a Certified Tissue Banking Specialist helped me handle and navigate challenging situations with donor families.
- Leadership opportunities: As a current member of the AATB Board of Governors and Chair of Donor Family Services Council, I would not be able to participate at this high leadership level without my CTBS. It prepared me for this role by allowing me to be able to evaluate needed changes in the Standards.
- Knowledge to create resources: Since I received my CTBS, my involvement in care of tissue donor families has been a higher priority for me. Much of our field’s education, public awareness, and energy is aimed at organ donation and transplantation. Resources for tissue donor families especially for children are limited. This inspired me to include information in a book to help adults guide children through understanding organ, eye, and tissue donation. The book, illustrated by my colleague, Karin Stothart, CTBS, uses plain language to explain donation. I think adults and donation professionals will find the book helpful too. It’s due to be published soon, and I am excited to provide this resource to the tissue donation and transplant community. I have to thank my certification and my time at OneLegacy for this accomplishment.
About Michelle Post
Michelle Post, MA, LMFT is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist and Continued Education Provider. She is a member of AATB’s Board of Governors and Chair of Donor Family Services Council. She has worked with Intercollegiate Athletes at UCLA and patients suffering from chronic pain and stress. She was a member of OneLegacy’s Donor Family Aftercare team from 2007 to 2019 and she managed the team for over 5 years. During her time at OneLegacy, she helped establish in-person grief and loss counseling services, and an online Facebook support group for donor families. In January 2019, she resigned OneLegacy to focus on building her businesses, Post Family Counseling and Post International Inc. She has two books in process of publication this year: Healing Your Heart and Help Me Understand. Internationally, she speaks and trains others on grief and bereavement, death notification, leadership development, compassion fatigue, and burnout prevention.