Ever worked at a Blood Bank?

  1. What was/is your experience like? I am being offered an interview as RN charge in mobile and stationary centers. I would love some feedback on what this environment is like.

    Thanks for any info you could share.
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  2. 6 Comments

  3. by   EricJRN
    I worked for a blood bank for five years while working on an ADN very part-time. I was able to work as a supervisor on mobile blood drives and in hospital-based donor rooms, learned platelet and granulocyte collection by apheresis. The tuition reimbursement and phlebotomy experience were good at the time, but I don't know if I would do it again now.

    Would this be a position where you're going out as part of a mobile team? Or would it be a more administrative position (like scheduling, writing SOP's, etc)?

    I've gotten very used to my set schedule as a nurse. The irregular hours on a mobile team would be a drawback for me now.
  4. by   Suninmyheart
    Thanks for replying. It would be working a mobile clinic and would be my first RN job. Is it high turnover? I notice it is not really a "specialty" or is it? Is it challenging. What skills would I learn or apply in this position?

    I am still waiting for NCLEX results. Took the exam 2 days ago. Yikes. I am on pins and needles.
  5. by   ArmyKitten
    Yes, but in reverse of what you are doing now. I was a phlebotomist while working on my RN. I worked where you describe- mobile drives and in the center. I absolutely loved my job. Donors are generally happy people- they want to be there, they want to get stuck, and they have wonderful healthy veins. The center I worked for was great to it's employees, and we all believed in the mission of supporting our community. As much as I absolutely loved it, that job is not for everyone.

    The hours were very erratic. Some days were 4 hours, others 16. Our mobile drives were sometimes 3 hours away, so you would go to the center, get on a van, drive 3 hours, do the drive, then drive home 3 hours. Granted that you were paid for your travel time it was nice to be paid to nap on a van....but still. If I was married at the time the job would have been much more difficult and I would never do it if I had children.

    My favorite part was the variety of people and places. High schools, churches (everything from Baptist to Amish), dental clinics, factories, Walmart parking lots... every day was a different place with different people. Once you stick your donor, you have 15 minutes or so to chat with them...so for people that love to hear stories and talk you will think you are on vacation.

    The downside (or upside, depending what you are wanting in a job). It is not hard...it is not mentally challenging. The rules for donation are very clear cut and highly regulated by the CDC and FDA. The use of critical thinking skills is incredibly rare. As a charge, you are responsible to get your team there on time, set up equipment appropriately in the area provided, ensure your team performs their job per protocols and that no donors are injured in the process.

    As much as I loved working for a company that was so positive, so encouraging, and with a job that was fun- I would never, ever, ever work there as a new RN grad. The clinical skills that you have learned will be gone, and returning to any type of clinical job will be difficult. With that said- I want to return to blood banking after I am tired of bedside nursing. My ideal new job would be an assistant director of nursing at a blood center...and eventually move up to DON.

    Good luck with your decision and on NCLEX results...hang in there, I know waiting for results can be tough!!
  6. by   Psqrd
    Quote from ArmyKitten
    Yes, but in reverse of what you are doing now. I was a phlebotomist while working on my RN. I worked where you describe- mobile drives and in the center. I absolutely loved my job. Donors are generally happy people- they want to be there, they want to get stuck, and they have wonderful healthy veins. The center I worked for was great to it's employees, and we all believed in the mission of supporting our community. As much as I absolutely loved it, that job is not for everyone.

    The hours were very erratic. Some days were 4 hours, others 16. Our mobile drives were sometimes 3 hours away, so you would go to the center, get on a van, drive 3 hours, do the drive, then drive home 3 hours. Granted that you were paid for your travel time it was nice to be paid to nap on a van....but still. If I was married at the time the job would have been much more difficult and I would never do it if I had children.

    My favorite part was the variety of people and places. High schools, churches (everything from Baptist to Amish), dental clinics, factories, Walmart parking lots... every day was a different place with different people. Once you stick your donor, you have 15 minutes or so to chat with them...so for people that love to hear stories and talk you will think you are on vacation.

    The downside (or upside, depending what you are wanting in a job). It is not hard...it is not mentally challenging. The rules for donation are very clear cut and highly regulated by the CDC and FDA. The use of critical thinking skills is incredibly rare. As a charge, you are responsible to get your team there on time, set up equipment appropriately in the area provided, ensure your team performs their job per protocols and that no donors are injured in the process.

    As much as I loved working for a company that was so positive, so encouraging, and with a job that was fun- I would never, ever, ever work there as a new RN grad. The clinical skills that you have learned will be gone, and returning to any type of clinical job will be difficult. With that said- I want to return to blood banking after I am tired of bedside nursing. My ideal new job would be an assistant director of nursing at a blood center...and eventually move up to DON.

    Good luck with your decision and on NCLEX results...hang in there, I know waiting for results can be tough!!
    I worked at a blood center for 3 years in the mobile dept and I totally agree with everything you said...An RN new grad needs to not walk but RUN from this job...you will be ruined and may find it difficult to even find someone to hire you for bedside nursing after working at a blood center for your first job. The second thing is that they will never pay you well...your license would rarely be at risk, here in Cali the only reason an RN is there is that it is required by law.
    P2
  7. by   Suninmyheart
    Thank you for taking the time to share your input. It is so valuable to hear this stuff. To a new grad the options feel overwhelming sometimes.

    My heart lies in working with the HIV/AIDS populations however there are limited opportunities there for a new grad. The 2 hospitals I am interested in aren't even starting their training for at least 2-4 months. I don't want to fall into just taking the first thing that comes along (which is the Blood Bank) but I certainly would like to work in the meantime. Hmmm....

    We'll see. Thank you so much.

    Addendum: just saw above post. I will take into account the advice you all have. I am curious though why a hospital would turn me away after being at a blood bank?
    Last edit by Suninmyheart on Sep 22, '07
  8. by   gonzo1
    It's not that they would turn you away, but that you would not have developed the skill set and critical thinking that hospitals need you to have for bedside nursing. It is highly recommended that as a new grad you do a year of med/surg or similar nursing to hone your skills.
    The blood bank job will not do this for you.

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