You could say the group of seniors from Fairmont High School that toured both Community Blood Center (CBC) headquarters in Dayton and the Community Tissue Services (CTS) Center for Tissue Innovation and Research in Kettering had a bad case of “senioritis.” Not just because they’re itching to graduate in a few weeks (and they are)… but because they are just as eager to chase their dreams of working in medicine.
“They are all seniors in my bio-technology class who have taken introduction to biology,” explained their teacher Mandy Van Dyke. “And they have all decided they have an interest in biology-related careers.”
What better place to focus on the medical science of blood and tissue banking than CBC/CTS? Many students already had the experience of donating blood at their school blood drives. This was a chance to get a more detailed understanding of the donation process, and then a behind-the-scenes look at how donated blood is processed in the CBC component lab.
The tour started with a “Blood 101” session with CBC Marketing Manager Sher Patrick. They studemts had obviously done their bio-tech homework, rattling off answers to Sher’s questions about the different blood components and the role of each in keeping the body functioning.
On a tour of the donor area they got a chance to pepper Donor Room Supervisor Robert Snowden with questions about phlebotomy training, the apheresis donation machinery and the inspiration of working in blood banking. “How soon did you know this is what you wanted to do?” asked one student. It was an honest question that made Robert pause. “I guess I’ve always been interested in medicine and this seemed like a great way to help people,” he said. “Blood donors are some of the best people you’ll ever meet, and that makes it very rewarding.”
The tour of the component lab was also eye-opening. The students were particularly interested in the Plasma Product Acceptability Chart. It compares the deep yellow color of a unit of acceptable plasma to various deeper shaded and discolored units that are considered unacceptable. Foamy, butterscotch-colored units indicate high cholesterol, and the students got a laugh out of the reference to those units as cases of too many fast-food burgers and fries!
The group headed off to the tour of CTIR to learn more about tissue, bone and skin graft donations, preparation and transplant. A few more weeks in the classroom back at Fairmont High and it will be time for graduation. CBC/CTS wishes the bio-tech students and all their classmates congratulations on all they have accomplished and best of luck in pursuing their career goals and dreams.