As a registered nurse Jonathan Ball sees the need for platelets during the course of his job every day. Jonathan is a staff nurse in the operating room at Scott & White Hospital in Temple and often has to go get blood products for patients during a surgery. “I go to pick up platelets during an operation and sometimes wonder if they are mine,” said Jonathan. Platelets clot the blood to help prevent bleeding and are used for patients with bleeding disorders, cancer and transplant patients that require blood transfusions. Platelets are essential to meeting the needs of the hospital. Contrary to whole blood donations, platelets have a shorter shelf life of only five days; therefore they are always in demand.
“Part of healthcare is caring.”
Donating blood products has become a family tradition. Jonathan’s father was one of the highest volume blood donors in Houston. His father impressed upon him it was the right thing to do by his actions. “My father was a veteran, as am I. As part of being a veteran he believed in doing what was right, whether for his country or for the community,” said Jonathan. After the passing of his father, Jonathan decided to continue the family legacy by donating platelets. As proof of his commitment Jonathan has already donated over 20 times this year.
The nurses know Jonathan is coming in on Monday morning every other week. Jonathan goes in at 8:30 a.m. and a couple of hours later he is ready to go. The process for donating platelets is similar to donating blood, but it takes about two hours. “I like donating platelets because you can donate every two weeks whereas blood you have to wait longer between donations. So I feel like I am able to give more, quicker,” he said. “The staff members at the blood center are great, and I enjoy seeing them; they make me feel good about what I do. It’s not painful at all. I’m relaxing, and it gives me an excuse to watch TV and do something good at the same time.”
Jonathan doesn’t donate for the incentives, but because he knows it’s the right thing to do. “We are in healthcare, part of nursing is caring, and this is one of the ways I show I care,” said Jonathan. “It should be on everyone’s mind who works in healthcare because it’s a core part of what we do here; it’s a core need.”