From February 13th to the 15th, the American Red Cross of Boston College held its third blood drive on campus during this academic year. Instead of its usual location in the Irish Hall of Gasson Hall, the drive was held in a smaller setting, the Walsh Function Room. All members of the Boston College community, including students, faculty, and staff, are welcome to donate provided that they meet the Red Cross guidelines. Representatives from the executive board of the American Red Cross of Boston College were in attendance, as well as student volunteers, like me, who agreed to help check donors in and assist donors with food and drinks after they give blood.

Because of the classes I am taking this semester, I am realizing how important blood drives are for the hospital environment. While numerous compounds the human body makes and needs (e.g. certain hormones) have synthetic counterparts, blood does not. All the blood for transfusions has to come from human beings. Furthermore, so many medical conditions and complications (postpartum hemorrhage and some types of anemia, to name a few) necessitate blood transfusions. All in all, there is a profound need for blood donation. I did not have the time to donate blood during this drive, but I still wanted to contribute to the event in some way, and volunteering at the drive was the perfect way to do that. I have only given blood once, but I hope to do so as often as I can because I now know the demand is so great.

While I was helping donors with snacks and drinks, a donor fainted after giving blood. After the incident, one of the Red Cross employees spoke with that particular donor and asked a series of questions to ensure that the donor had followed all the guidelines for preparing for a blood drive, which the donor did. Then the employee noticed that the donor’s clothing was covering the neck and explained that dressing in such a way has been associated with negative reactions to blood donation. This experience exposed me to the protocol for when a donor does faint, but it also showed me how to better prevent fainting in other donors as well as myself. Nurses are meant to care for the health of populations, and because of the communal nature of any blood drive, I believe it is our responsibility not only to encourage others to donate blood, but also to educate donors how to avoid adverse reactions.