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5 Cool Facts about Blood Every Nurse Should Know

Higher Education Articles November 24, 2013

One of the cool facts blood donors should know is that the body of the average adult contains about ten pints of blood, and when you donate blood, you are helping to save lives. Almost all nurses who work with patients must also work with blood in some capacity. Nurses regularly check blood pressure, take blood samples and insert IVs in their patients.

Testing Blood

Blood testing is an invaluable diagnostic tool for doctors. When a nurse draws blood and sends the small vial to the laboratory, the blood is analyzed for different reasons. A basic metabolic panel determines the presence of certain minerals and can detect if the levels are too high, too low, or fall within the healthy range.

Dialysis

When a patient has renal failure and their kidneys no longer are able to filter blood and remove fluids, they are often placed on dialysis. A dialysis nurse inserts two needles, usually in the patient’s arm and those needles are attached to two tubes. One tube draws blood into the machine where it is dialyzed, and the other tube returns the cleaned blood to the patient. During the three or four hour process, the patient and the flow of blood must be carefully monitored.

Regular monthly blood tests are standard for dialysis patients. Many patients need to take certain medicines to produce more red blood cells. Common problems are anemia, iron deficiency or too much calcium or phosphorous.

Most patients are able to tolerate dialysis with a minimal amount of discomfort. A dialysis nurse is specially trained to properly insert the large needles so that they do not cause any unnecessary pain to the patient. Blood flow and fluid levels must be monitored by the dialysis nurse to make sure the patient does not get painful cramps, nausea or even more severe side effects during their treatment.

Facts about Blood

Nurses know how to draw blood and insert needles into veins. They know how to take a patient’s blood pressure and can use a stethoscope to listen to the heart pumping blood. Following are some interesting things about blood that a nurse may also want to know.

Blood Cannot be Manufactured

One might wonder why there are so many hospitals and blood banks always looking for blood donors. The reason is that there is a high demand for the life saving fluid and modern medicine has yet to be able to synthetically produce blood. Without willing blood donors, the treatment and survival of millions of patients would be put in jeopardy.

Type O-Negative Blood

Type O-negative blood is suitable for transfusions to patients with any blood type. Hospitals desire this type of blood for use in emergency situations when a critical patient’s blood type has not been determined. Type O-negative blood is only present in seven percent of the population and hospitals have a difficult time finding enough donors to keep their supply of this rare blood type in stock.

Donating Blood

Whether you donate blood at the local bloodmobile, in a designated area at the mall , or in a hospital, you can be confident that all safety precautions are observed. Before the blood is drawn, the donor’s blood pressure, temperature and hemoglobin is checked to make sure that it is safe for he, or she, to donate. Sterile conditions are maintained throughout the approximate ten minutes it takes to give a pint.

Blood Produces Four Life-Saving Products

When you donate blood, it can be separated into red cells, platelets, plasma and cryoprecipitate. Each component has a useful purpose. A pint of whole blood can be processed and separated into several components. That same pint of blood can help one patient needing more red cells and another needing plasma.

Some Patients Require Frequent Blood Transfusions

Although the human body only contains roughly ten pints of blood, many seriously injured or sick patients require far more blood during surgery or for medical treatment. A car accident victim may need as many as 100 pints of blood and sickle cell patients must undergo multiple transfusions during their life.

Life Blood

Without enough blood, there can be no life. Blood that is not properly filtered through the kidneys can lead to death if left untreated. Blood tests are used to diagnose many medical conditions. It is essential to monitor your blood and blood pressure because it will tell you if you are healthy or not.

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  • A private, co-ed college founded in 1821 and located in downtown Washington, D.C.
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