Search
Unsung Blood-Bank Heroes Ensure Safe Blood Supply

Unsung Blood-Bank Heroes Ensure Safe Blood Supply

Each year, an average of 29 million units of blood components are transfused into patients in the US, according to the AABB (formerly the American Association of Blood Banks). This gift of life allows for surgeries and organ transplants, nurtures trauma victims and provides healing treatments for patients undergoing chemotherapy or suffering from cancer, sickle-cell disease or a form of thalassemia, a group of inherited blood diseases.

These transfusions are made possible by a relative handful of blood-bank technology specialists. With a background in medical laboratory technology and additional training in immunohematology, these experts perform the routine as well as the highly advanced tests needed to ensure that blood is both safe and compatible with the patient receiving it.

Scarce Supply

Like other clinical lab technologists and technicians, blood-bank technology specialists are currently in high demand. "There are only about 4,000 certified specialists in blood banking registered nationwide," estimates Marjorie Doty, MT (ASCP) SBB, manager of the Transfusion Medicine Academic Center at Florida Blood Services in St. Petersburg.

That number is expected to decrease in the coming decade as a generation of blood-bank professionals starts to retire. "The average age of our members is in their mid-50s," says Marc Pearce, division director of membership services for the AABB. "Many are looking to retire in the next 10 years, and we don't have the next generation coming up behind."

That's because enrollments are low in the few blood-bank technology programs still left. The number of programs for specialists in blood-bank (SBB) technology has dropped from about 60 in the '80s to a current low of about 15, according to the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas.

Blood-Bank Technology Credentials

Most SBB programs run approximately 12 months, although some that offer a master's degree take longer to complete. Generally, applicants must be certified medical technologists by the American Society for Clinical Pathology (ASCP) and have a bachelor's degree. Applicants who aren't ASCP-certified in medical technology need a bachelor's degree with a major in a biological or physical science and work experience in a blood bank. After completing the program, graduates receive a post-baccalaureate certificate and are eligible to take the SBB exam.

The industry has been slow to introduce distance learning but is now catching up to attract more students, Pearce says. The Transfusion Medicine Academic Center at Florida Blood Services, the Gulf Coast Regional Blood Center in Houston and the University of Texas Medical Branch in Galveston all offer distance-learning programs.

Blood Centers and Beyond

Many blood-bank technology specialists work in hospital-based transfusion services, which collect blood from donors, test it for safety and verify compatibility with the receiving patient. Others work in donor centers, such as those run by the American Red Cross, which collects more than 50 percent of the nation's blood supply. These donor centers separate blood into components and distribute it to hospital transfusion services.

Those who choose research positions based in blood centers or major hospitals perform such functions as peripheral blood stem cell transfusions. Finally, some work for manufacturers of blood-banking equipment and supplies.

SBB salaries range from $45,000 to $66,000, according to the American Medical Association's Health Professions Career and Education Directory. Midlevel lab supervisors earn an average of $21.44 per hour, and directors of quality assurance average $35.72 per hour, according to a 2004 AABB survey of its member blood centers.

Autonomy and Responsibility

Blood banking attracts people who like science and enjoy figuring out puzzles, Doty says. "Laboratory professionals are very different from nurses, although they both help people in their own separate ways," she explains. "Lab people like the autonomy and don't really want patient contact."

Blood-bank work is demanding, with unpredictable hours and the heavy responsibility of knowing that just one mismatched unit of blood can cause a patient's death. Unlike nurses or physicians who may receive feedback from grateful patients, blood bankers typically receive little recognition for their hard work and skill.

But that's not important, declares Doty. "Here you know that what you've done has helped save a life or get someone through surgery successfully."

Latest Jobs

Merchant Business Alliance
Posted: 11/23/2014
Augusta, GA, 30904
BHS Skincare
Posted: 11/23/2014
New York, NY, 10007
Merchant Business Alliance
Posted: 11/23/2014
Columbus, GA, 31901
Merchant Business Alliance
Posted: 11/23/2014
Atlanta, GA, 30334
Merchant Business Alliance
Posted: 11/23/2014
Elgin, IL, 60120

Want more personalized results?  Update Your Profile

 
 
 

Monster Communities

Teaching Community
Where teachers meet and learn.
ArtBistro
Create and connect.
Excelle
Networking for the career-minded woman.
Nursing Link
Where nurses call the shots.
More Monster Communities

Monster Partners

Scholarships
Scholarships, financial aid and more ways to pay for school.
Education.org
Find top campus and online degree programs.
Military.com
Military portal for the US Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps and Coast Guard.
Financial Aid
Scholarships & financial aid.
Staffing for Government Jobs
Staffing and hiring solutions for federal government agency jobs.
More Monster Partners

Job Hunt Strategy

Six Ways to Make a Recruiter Hate You
If you want to blow your chances with recruiters -- and, by extension, with the companies they work for -- here are six perfect ways to do so.

Resumes & Cover Letters

Rev Up Your Resume to Relocate
Hoping to relocate? Get the ball rolling on landing the right job in the right location with these expert resume and cover letter tips.

Interviewing

100 Potential Interview Questions
Interview questions can run the gamut. You probably won't face all 100 of these, but you should still be prepared to answer at least some of them.

Salary & Benefits

10 Questions to Ask When Negotiating Salary
Most of us aren't natural negotiators, but asking these 10 questions during salary negotiations can help you get everything you deserve.

Employee Sourcing

Alt text
November Monster Employment Index Grows 13% Year-Over-Year, Tenth Consecutive Month of Positive Annual Growth.

For Seekers

Campus and Online Degrees
Advance your career and earn more with an online degree.
Free Salary Wizard
What are you worth? Find out and negotiate a better salary.
Research Careers
Get information on jobs and career paths to help guide your choices
Questions & Answers
Find answers to all your career related questions -- powered by Yahoo! Answers
Resume Distribution Service
Our distribution service puts your resume right in the hands of recruiters.
Resume Writing Services
Our experts will craft a keyword-rich resume that stands out in the crowd.
More Career Resources

For Employers

Career Ad Network
Target your job posting to more candidates on thousands of websites.
Hire Right Background Checks
Explore our background check packages to improve the quality of your hires.
Hiring Home Page
Find the best candidates for your business with Monster hiring solutions.
Job Postings
Find the right solution for your hiring needs. Starting at $99.
Power Resume Search
Monster's new search technology precisely matches people with your jobs.
Resource Center
Find staffing insights, labor trends, HR best practices and more.
Target Post
Connect with skilled, hourly and administrative candidates for only $99.

Social Media

Jobs on Twitter
Find jobs in your area and industry.
Monster Careers
Tune into our career advice and discussions tackling a wide range of topics and industries.
Monster Corporate & PR
Stay up-to-date on the latest news. Get the 'Who', 'What', 'When', and 'Why' on all things Monster related.
Monster Customer Service
Got a Monster question? We've got the answer. Whether you're a job seeker or employer, we can help you find the answers you need.
Monster for Employers
Find advice on hiring.
Follow Us
Check out our many pages and stay connected with the latest industry news, events, career advice and job openings.

Other Links

Monster Company Profiles
Explore companies and get information to guide your career decisions.
Compare Salaries
See how your pay stacks up to others in your field.
iPhone Application
Download the Monster app for iPhone and iPod touch.
Monster Job Seeker Blog
Monster Job Seeker Blog.
Monster Thinking Blog
Monster's Recruitment Trends Blog.
Jobs & Career Resources
Search Jobs:
For Employers: Post Jobs | Search Resumes | Advertise
About Monster | Work for Monster | Advertise with Us | AdChoices | Partner with Us | Investor Relations | Social Media
Terms of Use | Privacy Center | Accessibility Center | Help | Security | Contact Us | Sitemap | Mobile
©2014 Monster - All Rights Reserved U.S. Patents No. 5,832,497; 7,599,930 B1; 7,827,125 and 7,836,060 MWW - Looking for Monster Cable? - V: 2014.11.0.15-222
eTrustLogo