Students get health career skills with blood drive

Tech students gain valuable health career experience from blood drive leadership
Posted on 12/20/2019
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Each year, about 200 students and staff at Sussex Technical High School cheerfully line up to donate blood to the Blood Bank of Delmarva’s ongoing efforts.

But organizing that effort behind the scenes involves weeks of work by multiple Sussex Tech students – a team of health professions majors who are planning for future careers in nursing or medicine.

The experience is valuable not just for the service it provides the community, but also for the exposure to different aspects of health care, said Emma Brower, a senior from Ellendale who spearheaded this fall’s blood drive.

“It gives you a good idea of how organization is a huge part of health care,” said Brower, who plans to attend nursing school next year after graduation. “It’s also nice to meet real phlebotomists and get insight into that field.”

Sussex Tech holds two blood drives each year, one in the fall and one in the spring. The effort really begins the previous year, when the lead senior student organizer takes a junior under their wing to train and become the future organizer.

While the Blood Bank of Delaware provides staff and equipment to draw and store the blood, Sussex Tech’s health professions students are at work several weeks prior recruiting donors from the ranks of students and staff. The day of the event, they greet donors, register them, keep track of no-shows, hand out snacks and fluids, and monitor donors as they recover.

With about 100 spots open for each blood drive, managing all the people can be a challenge, Brower said. “It gets stressful, but I can make it happen,” she says with confidence.

High school and college blood drives account for about 25 percent of the blood collected during the school year, according to the Blood Bank of Delmarva. The Blood Bank provides blood and blood products to all 19 hospitals on Delmarva and relies on more than 80,000 volunteer donors each year. For more information, visit

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