Uni student Steph tells us what it was like to donate blood (so it doesn't seem so scary)!
This post is presented in partnership with Student Edge. You can find the original article here.
The easiest way to save lives
If you have ever considered donating blood, you might be a little nervous about getting your blood taken (especially if you’re afraid of needles).
Let’s face it: the idea of donating blood probably doesn’t seem like the most relaxing thing in the world but once you give it a go, you’ll find that the whole process is actually pretty chill.
We spoke to Deakin University student Stephanie Tape, who regularly donates blood at Australian Red Cross Lifeblood, to find out exactly what the process is like (so it doesn’t seem so daunting).
So, how does donating blood work?
If you haven’t given blood before, it’s only natural to worry about what to expect. Will it hurt? Will it take long? Is there any chance I could faint?
These are all valid concerns, but as Steph explains, the process is a lot more comfortable, calm and quick than most people expect. In fact, even the booking process is easy!
"I will usually book my appointment online, then I’ll go into the donor centre, check-in with one of the staff members and be offered some water or a little bit of a snack," Steph tells us.
"Then I’ll sit down for a few minutes and wait for one of the nurses to call me into a room where I’ll get my haemoglobin [an indicator of iron levels] and my blood pressure tested.”
“They’ll escort me over to the chair where they take my blood. For me, that usually takes five minutes, and then they will check if I’m feeling okay. When that’s all good, I will go and eat in the snack area.”
Not only has Steph given blood a bunch of times, she has also given plasma, which takes a bit longer, but can be used in 18 different life-giving ways and given more often—it’s a game changer!
Steph says that blood and plasma donation are both super easy, and she finds donating highly rewarding.
“I’ve never had any negative experiences, I’m always greeted with a smile. I actually enjoy the whole experience from start to finish. Basically, everybody is there every step of the way,” she says.
“You’re not just left alone, and everybody is always up for a chat as well. I tend to just chill out and chat to the nurses. Overall, I think the experience is wonderful.”
Why is donating blood worth it?
“It saves lives and that is probably the best part of it. When I get that little message a few days or a week after telling me where my blood has gone, I think that’s really special,” Steph says.
It’s also a fantastic option if you want to help make a difference but don’t have the funds to donate money to organisations.
Steph explains how as a uni student, she cannot afford to regularly donate money to causes that are close to her, so donating blood is the perfect way to help others.
“I am probably not in a financial position to be donating money. I think for me, this really only costs my time and blood, and it’s something I can do on a regular basis,” she says.
Okay, but is it scary?
While the process of donating blood is easy, it can be a little daunting if you have a fear of needles or blood.
Steph shared with us some of the tips she used when she gave blood for the first time, so that you can take the plunge yourself.
“I don’t have a massive fear of needles, but I can appreciate those that do, so I guess there was a bit of anxiety about the needle situation,” she says.
“But how I overcame that was basically remembering why I was there, why I was doing it, and that it was going to be over very quickly.”
As Steph explains, having the support of the Lifeblood team helped her feel supported throughout the process.
"I think having [the Lifeblood] nurses there, who are obviously highly trained in dealing with people’s nerves, helps put all your nerves at ease,” she says.
“I would say try your best to just give it a go once, because I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised about how gentle and nice the whole experience is.
"Keep thinking of that feeling that you’re going to get after it—you have just saved lives."
If Steph’s experience has made you want to donate blood ASAP, you can find out more about the process and book a donation below or on the Donate Blood app.