University of Pennsylvania Health System

Lung Transplant Update | Penn Medicine

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Transplant Nurse's Day Essay Contest 2015

At the Penn Transplant Institute, transplant nurses play a critical role in every patient’s transplant journey. Providing personalized care is a hallmark of the Penn Lung Transplant Program. While every patient’s story is unique, they share the experience of having worked closely with transplant nurses before transplant, at the time of transplant and during the post-transplant recovery phase. Lung transplant nurses work in a variety of settings: Some are coordinators or nurse practitioners, while others care for patients on Silverstein 10 or 11 or in one of the intensive care units. The International Transplant Nurses Society (ITNS) is inviting patients to recognize their transplant nurses by submitting an essay to the 2015 Transplant Nurse’s Day Essay Contest.

To help celebrate the special contributions of transplant nurses, the ITNS created this essay contest in conjunction with the annual Transplant Nurses Day Celebration. This year, Transplant Nurses Day is April 15. A submission to the ITNS Essay Contest is an excellent opportunity to recognize an ITNS transplant nurse who has made a difference in your life.

Participation in the essay contest is open to any transplant patient currently, or formerly, under the care of a transplant nurse who is a member of ITNS. This can be a nurse who cared for you anywhere throughout your experience at Penn. Not sure if the nurse you have in mind is a member of ITNS? Just ask! Send a quick email through MyPennMedicine directly to the Penn Transplant team member who you’d like to nominate.

The theme of this year’s contest is "Why I Celebrate My Transplant Nurse." Judges will be reviewing your essay to learn:
  • What is unique about your nominee? 
  • Why is he or she important to you or your family, or both?
  • How did your nominee make a difference in your life?
The essay should be 300 to 500 words in length and be formatted to fit on one page.

The winning essay will be featured in a future issue of the ITNS Insider newsletter. The winning nurse will receive a recognition award and a letter will be sent to his or her supervisor. He or she will also be acknowledged on the ITNS website and in an ITNS E-Updates membership e-mail.

To submit your entry you’ll need the following:
  • A copy of the completed entry form
  • A 300-to-500-word essay focusing on the topic "Why I Celebrate My Transplant Nurse" -- Each essay must be original, authentic, unpublished and the sole property of the entrant.
  • Your personal information, printed in the top-right corner of the essay:
    • First and last name
    • Address
    • Phone number
    • Email
The deadline for submission is March 13, 2015. Entries can be emailed to or mailed to:
8735 W. Higgins Road, Suite 300
Chicago, IL 60631

For more information, call the International Transplant Nurses Society at 847.375.6340. Information can also be found online at

Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Making New Year’s Resolutions that Stick

As 2014 comes to a close and we pause to consider what went well and what we’d like to do differently, many of us begin to consider resolutions for the New Year. Without a plan to go along with the goals, it’s quite possible that the only thing that will change from December 31 to January 1 is the date.

If you’d like to increase your chances of transforming your resolutions into accomplishments, here are five tips from the American Psychological Association:

1. Start small. 

In the hopeful optimism of the new year’s fresh start, there's a tendency to set goals that represent major shifts in lifestyle. Experts recommend to start with mini goals and gradually build up to where you’d ultimately like to be. For example, if adding activity is on your resolutions list, consider scheduling three days at the gym instead of trying to go seven times. If you would like to eat more healthy foods, try replacing dessert with something else you enjoy, like fruit or yogurt, instead of setting a goal to completely eliminate after meal treats.

2. Change one behavior at a time. 

Unhealthy behaviors develop over the course of time. So, the process of replacing unhealthy behaviors with healthy behaviors also requires time. Try to avoid being overwhelmed by the thought that you have to reassess everything in your life. Instead, work toward changing one thing at a time.

3. Talk about it. 

Share your experiences with family and friends. Consider joining a support group specific to the goal you want to reach, such as a workout class at your gym. Having someone to share your struggles and successes with makes your journey to a healthier lifestyle that much easier and less intimidating.

4. Don’t beat yourself up. 

Perfection is unattainable. Remember that minor missteps when reaching your goals are completely normal and to be expected. Don’t give up completely because you ate a brownie and did not keep your resolution to eat more healthy foods, or skipped the gym for a week because you were busy. Everyone has ups and downs. When missteps happen, simply resolve to recover from your mistakes and get back on track as quickly as possible.

5. Ask for support. 

Accepting help from those who care about you and who can listen well will strengthen your resilience and ability to manage stress caused by changing your habits. If you feel overwhelmed or unable to meet your goals on your own, consider seeking professional help.

Remember the Penn Lung Transplant Team is here to assist you in improving your health and well-being. Don’t hesitate to contact Penn Lung Transplant social worker, Christopher Erickson, for assistance getting connected with resources to help you achieve your goals.

Best of luck to you with your New Year’s resolutions. We look forward to sharing 2015 with you all!

Find out more about organ transplants at Penn.

Friday, December 19, 2014

Happy Holidays from the Penn Lung Transplant Team

As 2014 comes to a close and we gather with family and friends from near and far, The Penn Lung Transplant Team wanted to take a moment to wish everyone a wonderful holiday season.

Special thanks to all those who were able to join us at the Annual Penn Transplant Patient Holiday Party. Here are some photos from the celebration.

One of the best parts of our annual gathering is to celebrate with those who have received a lung transplant and learn what life’s been like for them as they begin their new phase of life. For anyone who wasn't able to join us at the party or might have missed these, here’s a look back at some of the stories our patients have shared this year.

A Wife Like Kelly

Steven Orloff, the highest fundraiser in this year’s Dash for Organ Donor Awareness, talks about the amazing support he received from his wife throughout his transplant journey.

Life After Transplant: What Tops Your List?

Lung transplant recipient, Richard Fallstich, shares the highlights of life post-lung and liver transplantation.

Lori’s Story: My Lung Transplant

Two years after her lung transplant, wife and mom Lori Leventhal tells us about her long journey to lung transplantation and how her husband, friends and families helped her cope and persevere.

John’s Story: The Life in Your Years

John Lucchesi encourages us all to live life to the fullest in all of life’s circumstances.

Chas's Story: From Heart and Lung Failure to 80-Mile Bike Rides

Chas Devlin inspires us to be as active as we can, both before and after lung transplant.

We hope you find these stories as uplifting and inspirational as we do. Best wishes for a safe and happy holiday and new year.

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Five Tips for Managing Holiday Stress

The holiday season is a wonderful time for celebration and reflection. But sometimes, amidst the hustle and bustle, stress can threaten to steal the joy that’s typically associated with this time of year.

Whether it's about health concerns, holiday preparations or house guests, it’s important to be proactive in managing stress so you and your loved ones are able to enjoy yourselves and you keep up your mental wellbeing.

Here are some suggestions from the American Psychiatric Association to help you successfully navigate the challenges of the holiday season:

1. Take time for yourself

When you take time to take care of yourself, everyone benefits. For some, that means taking a long walk; for others, it means treating yourself to a massage or listening to your favorite music. All of us need some time to recharge our batteries. By slowing down you will actually have more energy to accomplish your goals.

2. Volunteer

Find a local charity, such as a soup kitchen or a shelter, where you and your family can volunteer. Participating in a giving tree or an adopt-a-family program may help you put your own holiday struggles in perspective. Penn's Transplant House is always looking for volunteers, especially during the holiday season. Call Kirsten King at 215-662-4540 to learn how you might be able to help.

3. Set realistic expectations

No Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanza or other holiday celebration is perfect. View missteps as opportunities to demonstrate flexibility and resilience. A lopsided tree or a burned brisket doesn’t have to ruin your entire holiday; rather, it might just create a unique family memory.

4. Remember what's important

Holiday advertising can make us forget what the holiday season is really about. When your holiday expense list is running longer than your monthly budget, scale back. Remind yourself that what makes a great celebration is loved ones – not store-bought presents, elaborate decorations or gourmet food.

5. Seek support

Talk about your concerns with your friends and family. Getting things out in the open can help you navigate your feelings and work toward a solution. If you continue to feel overwhelmed, consider contacting your lung transplant social worker, Chris Erickson, to find strategies to address your worries. Chris can be reached at 215-662-4575 or