UBC Okanagan partners with Blood Services Canada to educate, recruit donors

Nursing students from Okanagan university take to community events to inform public

UBC Okanagan nursing students represented Canadian Blood Services at community events in West Kelowna, Kelowna and Lake Country. (Supplied)

Blood; it’s in you to give. We all know the slogan, but did you know that half of all Canadians will either need blood or know someone who needs it, according to Canadian Blood Services.

The fourth-year students of the nursing program at UBC Okanagan know better than most just how important it is to educate and recruit potential blood donors.

For the past seven years, a partnership between the Canadian Blood Services and the university have given nursing students first-hand experience to connect with neighbouring communities—and who better to do it, said nursing instructor Natalie Matthews.

“Nursing students see how blood is used and understand the need for blood,” Matthews said.

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In this collaborative project, students partaking in their leadership capstone course, work in groups of four and head out to community events, yoga studios, grocery stores, city events—or anywhere they can be in public, Matthews said—and educate the public about the need for blood.

The nursing students also educate people about who can donate and where they can give.

“As nursing students from UBC Okanagan, practising in the hospital we are frequently reminded of the life-saving impact of blood and tissue donation,” nursing student Laura Starchuk said. “It has been a great experience engaging with the community and raising awareness about the need for donors no matter what time of year.”

Matthews said the partnership between the university and the Canadian Blood Services has been wonderful to see.

“Each year, it’s just strengthened and strengthened,” she said. “It’s so great to see the students put their passion into it. To see them engage in nursing work that looks different than bedside, they’re so excited, so passionate and they put their own stamp on the project.”

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