BBCC Level II Nursing students learn the art of administering blood transfusions

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Blood 1Blood transfusions are a common occurrence for patients who are undergoing surgery, experiencing traumatic injuries, or have blood related illnesses or cancers.  The number of patients who fall into those categories are abundant. Therefore, blood transfusions are a common and essential part of working to save lives as a Registered Nurse.

At Big Bend Community College, our Level II nursing students recently had the opportunity to begin learning about giving blood transfusions. They spent hours learning how to set up a blood transfusion as well as learning about the rationale needed to critically engage in patient safety and care.

Since the students are just beginning to engage in blood transfusion training, much of their time has been spent in our skills lab. In this lab, the students are given a task trainer to practice starting an IV line. They must also verify blood products and use the IV pump to administer the blood transfusion.

Even though blood transfusions are generally considered safe, BBCC’s Level II nursing students are trained to look for signs of contraindication. These signs include symptoms similar to an allergic reaction: fever, chills, hives and anxiousness. Additionally, the nurses learned about the importance of monitoring the patient throughout the procedure.  It is very import for the students to understand how to document changes in the patient in order to ensure patient safety.

In addition to watching for adverse reactions, the students also focused on learning about strategies to prevent errors before they occur. These strategies include making sure that the patient has been blood tested prior to the blood transfusion in order to verify blood type and Rh factor. Additionally, it is important to acquire a patient history report that asks whether the patient has had a reaction to a blood transfusion in the past.

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Learning how to conduct blood transfusions is traditionally one of our nursing students’ favorite labs. They love this lab because it combines many different cognitive and physical skills that they have been learning over the past year. It marks a transition in their studies as nursing students where they begin to start layering their skills together in order to get ready to become independent nurses.

If you would like to learn more about our nursing program at Big Bend Community College, please contact Katherine Christian at kchristian@bigbend.edu. If you would like to learn more about the blood transfusion lab or our Medical Simulation program, please contact Andrea Elliott at 509-793-2125 or simulation@bigbend.edu