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For those who are not put off by the sight of blood, working in a blood bank can be an exciting and rewarding career. These jobs require strict attention to detail, understanding of healthcare regulations, and the ability to relate to patient and other team members. The different types of blood bank jobs include blood bank technicians, technologists or specialists in blood banking (SBB), quality assurance specialists, medical assistants and laboratory technical coordinators.
Blood bank technicians are responsible for the collection and initial handling of blood samples. They must safely obtain blood from donors while following all medical and clinical guidelines. The technicians assure that sufficient blood is collected, and that it is sealed correctly in preparation for handling and transport. They counsel patients regarding the blood collection procedure and any potential risks.
A technologist, or specialists in blood banking, will perform routine blood screening and testing, in addition to more complex blood analysis. They prepare blood specimens for testing using various types of laboratory equipment. Some duties include determining blood type, checking for viruses, investigating any transfusion-related reactions and identifying childhood blood disorders. A bachelor's degree, preferably in the science or medical technology field, and certification is required for these blood bank jobs.
Quality assurance specialists work in the administrative sector of blood banks to ensure that all safety, privacy and health regulations are being followed. They track any incidents or regulatory breaches, provide compliance training, and report to local and national agencies. Some may be responsible for the maintenance and calibration of laboratory and other equipment.
Blood bank jobs for medical assistants focus on initial patient interactions and preliminary health screenings. The medical assistant will greet the patient and perform any necessary customer service duties. He or she may then take vitals, including blood pressure, weight, pulse and temperature. It is the assistant's responsibility to have all medical paperwork completed and to set up as well as clean up the donation areas.
One of the highest paying blood bank jobs is that of the laboratory technical coordinator. This person oversees the operations of the bank, demonstrates the highest level of technical and testing skills, performs trainings and employee reviews, and ensures that staff members are following agency and regulatory requirements. The technical coordinator must have a minimum of a bachelor's degree in the medical technology or clinical lab science fields as well as at least three years clinical experience.
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