Thrive by IU Health

January 24, 2023

Transplant manager advocates for esteemed program

Transplant manager advocates for esteemed program

She started her nursing career five years ago and quickly progressed to fulfill a new role at IU Health.

By IU Health Senior Journalist, TJ Banes,

She traces her interest back to high school. At Avon High School Kailyn Jackson became involved in a program called, “Project Lead the Way,” and began thinking about a career in nursing.

Project Lead the Way is a non-profit program that provides learning experiences geared toward science, technology, engineering, and math. It was the science part that caught Jackson’s attention.

The daughter of Danny and Laura Hutson, of Avon earned a spot on the Indiana State University (ISU) track and field team where she participated in high jump and javelin. After earning her nursing degree in 2018, Jackson joined IU Health working in transplant ICU.

In one of her first management roles, she oversaw the continuous renal replacement therapy in the operating room. “Some very sick patients require continuous dialysis and I watched the circulators and staff as they worked with those patients,” said Jackson. With ambitions of working in the operating room, she joined the transplant team in 2020, and worked at an outpatient surgery center for IU Health.

In her most recent role, Jackson was named transplant program manager in August 2022, working specifically with kidney, liver, intestinal and pancreas transplant patients.

“I think I saw this as an opportunity to help the transplant team. The OR was struggling with staffing so this gives me a chance to recruit and retain in my own way,” said Jackson.

“I think having a sounding board for the nurses makes them more comfortable and confident coming to transplant OR,” said Jackson. They relate to her on many levels. For one, she’s returning to familiar territory - her alma mater - to talk to fellow ISU Sycamore nursing students about career options.

“I start by telling them what OR nursing is like and then talk to them specifically about transplant. I feel like this position gives me some freedom to introduce some specifics that may not be readily available to first-time nurses,” said Jackson. “I talk about the many cases we do at IU Health and how the cases we do are not common. IU Health is the only place in Indiana to perform liver transplants and we are unique in offering multi-visceral transplants,” said Jackson. At some point, she hopes to take future nurses on rounds with physicians.

According to Donate Life Indiana, more than 100,000 men, women and children nationally are waiting at any given moment for a lifesaving organ transplant. More than 1,000 of those waiting are Hoosiers. Last year 4.2 million Hoosiers signed up to be organ donors; 276 organ donors saved the lives of others needing lifesaving transplants, 949 lifesaving organs were transplanted to recipients.

At IU Health many recipients receive kidney and liver transplants from living donors. Last year, IU Health performed 473 adult and pediatric transplants; 237 kidneys; 22 pancreas transplants; 160 liver transplants, and 10 intestinal transplants. IU Health ranked among the top 10 transplant programs in the nation for liver; total pancreas; and intestinal transplants. IU Health also completed 14 heart transplants and 30 lung transplants last year.

IU Health’s Transplant program is not only nationally known by the number of patients served, but also by the team members in the program. Patients come from across the country and even outside the United States. In addition to qualified nurses, and managers, like Jackson, the team includes surgeons, physicians, social workers, transplant coordinators, financial navigators, procurement specialists, and other staff members dedicated to excellent clinical care.

Kailyn and her husband Jordan with their dogs

Jackson is married to Jordan Jackson, who works in a management role for Amazon. “We have very different styles but I’ve learned a lot from him,” she said.

“Transplant is so special to me. Patients automatically feel gratitude and each transplant case is different. In OR we see so much behind-the-scenes and how we truly make a difference in the lives of others.”



Related Services