We’re so proud to work with each and every one of our staff members here at Donor Alliance. In our Staff Spotlight, we like to take a minute to share who we are and why we work at Donor Alliance. Meet Samantha Finke, a Family Support Coordinator in Northern Colorado for Donor Alliance. In that role, Samantha mainly supports donor families before, during and after a donation case. Samantha says that being able to work with and support those families is the most rewarding part of her job.
Name: Samantha Finke
Position: Family Support Coordinator – Northern Colorado
Years at Donor Alliance: 2 ½ years
Tell us a little about your role with Donor Alliance: I am one of two Family Support Coordinators in Northern Colorado (NoCo). The Northern Colorado region runs along the front range and includes all hospitals as far north as Cheyenne, Wyoming and as far south as Boulder and Brighton, Colorado. My role at Donor Alliance is to support our donor families before, during and after we begin an organ donation case. The very beginning of that work includes meeting with the family or legal next of kin to speak with them about authorizing their loved one to be a donor if the patient is not registered, or to speak with them about honoring their loved ones decision to be a donor if the patient is registered. I consider it such a privilege and an honor to work with these families at such a difficult and personal time as they say goodbye to their loved ones and make these life changing decisions. After a case has started, I will offer to do some memory making for the families by making a finger print tree and heartbeats in a bottle which is a copy of an EKG placed in a small glass vial, these memory making efforts are new initiatives we’ve incorporated to further support the family. Another important part of my role is supporting families of our DCD donors in the operating room as they say goodbye to their loved ones after being compassionately removed from artificial support. My role includes a number of other responsibilities beyond direct family support including, supporting our referral process, providing follow-up information to our organ donor families with calls, hand written cards and letters after a case is completed and assisting the tissue team by completing tissue screenings when needed.
What made you want to work for Donor Alliance? I have my BSW and MSW and have always wanted to work in a more social work-related profession supporting others. Organ and tissue donation seemed like such an incredible and rewarding world to be a part of and the position also seemed like it would challenge me and teach me a lot of new and interesting things. It has done all those things and more so I am very grateful to work for Donor Alliance and to have the opportunity to support our donor families.
What do you enjoy most about your role/what’s the most rewarding aspect of your role? I find the work I do with our donor families the most rewarding part of my job. I will never forget any of the donors or donor families that I have worked with in the past 2.5 years. I feel like they will be a part of my life forever because giving the gift of life to another person is the ultimate gift so, how could I ever forget that act of selflessness?
When you’re not working, what do you like to do for fun? I have a 13 month old son named Wylder so my world revolves around him or around chasing him at the moment. We also go on a lot of walks with our two dogs Bacca and Charli. When we can get a babysitter, we like to see movies, go to concerts, comedy shows and we subscribe to the Denver Center for the Performing Arts so we see a lot of theatre performances.
What piece of advice would you give your younger self? Say yes to the epidural!! Don’t sweat the small stuff and remember that life is short so take advantage of every opportunity to experience and try new things even if it is hard or scary.