Nurses boost nation’s blood stocks

Nurses along the mid and north coast of New South Wales have banded together to boost blood reserves for the Australian Red Cross.

With national blood stocks at dangerously low levels this winter, hundreds of nurses are rolling up their sleeves in a show of support for the Unions for Transfusions campaign.

Blood drives were held in hospitals across Port Macquarie, Kempsey, Coffs Harbour, Grafton, Lismore and Tweed Heads, as part of a statewide campaign to bolster depleted blood reserves.

Organised by the NSWNA, Unions NSW and the Australian Red Cross Blood Service, the campaign drew a big response at the Port Macquarie Base Hospital, where more than 300 people turned up to a “blood drive barbeque” and as many as 60 nurses pledged to donate blood.

NSWNA branch secretary Lynda Binskin was pleased with the turn out, saying that all the nurses and midwives who took part were “very positive and happy to be involved.

“We ran a sausage sizzle here at the Base and publicised that. The local newspaper supported the initiative and took photos and we got a lot of publicity that way, which was very good,” Lynda told The Lamp. “We had over 60 people commit to donating blood and I was one of them.”

The barbeque and blood drive made such an impression on the Port Macquarie Base Hospital RN, that she made a pledge to give blood, for the very first time.

“I’m embarrassed to say that I’ve never given blood, but I’m happy to now that I’ve made a commitment to do that and I know that quite a few other members did the same,” Lynda told The Lamp.

Since becoming a blood donor and taking part in the campaign, Lynda has begun to see the importance of giving blood and urges other nurses to do the same.

“Just do it,” Lynda said. “You’re doing something for your community and you never know when you or your loved ones are going to need blood.”

Every blood donation helps to save the lives of up to three people, according to the Australian Red Cross, and anyone between the ages of 16 to 70 can become a blood donor if they are in good health.

NSWNA General Secretary Brett Holmes reminded nurses of the importance of giving blood at the launch of the Unions for Transfusions campaign.

“It’s easy and only takes an hour of your time,” Brett said. “It’s important to know that it is not only road trauma victims who require blood. Blood helps cancer patients, people undergoing emergency surgery, burns victims and those on renal dialysis.”

Giving blood takes approximately one hour, with the actual donation time being around 10 to 15 minutes.

To find out more about donating visit www.unionsnsw.org.au/donateblood