It’s the bowling pins on the corner table, each decorated in a different human form, complete with faces and clothes, that grab your attention immediately upon entering the reception area. Looking up, there is less than an inch between each of the photos featuring smiling blood donors lining every wall, heralding the gallons given by community members. Handmade quilts warm the walls of the donor room. The phlebotomist smiles, welcoming a favorite donor and neighbor. Recruiters don funny glasses and a fake mustache to add a personal touch of humor when scheduling the next appointment.
Sitting at the blood center board table, community leaders donate precious time on a Saturday to watch the “Year in Review” video, a virtual diorama of news stories, too numerous to count, lauding the community blood center. Rodeo kings, athletes, and local celebrities embrace the blood drives with words and actions. A physician on the board proudly explains the historic role of neonatology in developing transfusion medicine and blood banking.
At the podium, a seasoned medical director holds the rapt attention of an international audience representing 22 countries throughout the world. His presentation summarizes a comprehensive research study on donor characteristics and critical incidents with a focus on prevention. A career in blood banking just concluded, the physician thrives on sharing knowledge that will increase safety for donors of the future.
Do you recognize your blood center in these stories? What is the connection between these three vignettes? They are snapshots of three consecutive days spent at three different blood centers, representing three different communities. While at first glance their differences (small, medium, and large) may be obvious, collectively they are the face of ABC. What they, and all ABC members, have in common is actually quite remarkable.
The ties that bind our members define community-based, non-profit independent blood centers, and these characteristics are a source of pride. Looking across North America, what patterns are apparent?
We see centers that are grounded in community, dedicated to a mission, have grit, perform daily rituals, and exemplify passionate civic support, and continuous quality improvement. We see a relentless pace of work, creativity and innovation, a culture of safety, and the intersection of science, clinical practice, and human behavior. We also see the building of relationships and networks, improving on strengths, problem solving, committed donors, and grateful patients and families. Most importantly – we see the saving and improving of lives.
Christine Zambricki, DNAP, CRNA, FAAN, Chief Executive Officer;firstname.lastname@example.org