FBMH Stories: Lucy Cooper

As part of our FBMH Stories feature for Instagram, we went along to the Blood Donation Society’s event to chat with their president, Lucy Cooper. Lucy is a second year Adult Nursing student, and tells us how her experiences on placement encouraged her to become a blood donor.

Why did you choose to study nursing?

I wanted to go into something in healthcare because I like biology, and I like talking, so nursing kind of fit well!

What is placement like?

I’m on placement three days a week, and in Uni two days a week. I worked a 14-hour shift yesterday so that I could be here today with the NHS Blood and Transplant service (NHSBT) to get students interested in registering to donate blood. But I don’t mind the long days because now I’m on the cardiology unit at Wythenshawe Hospital, and I love it there.

Do you have a favourite specialism?

I like where I am at the moment with cardiology. I’ve also been in general rehab which is mostly general elderly medicine, which was really good and was my first ever placement. Now that I’ve tried more of the specialist stuff, I get excited about the cool new things that I get to see and do.

How did you develop your bedside manner?

It was fine – it’s more of a confidence thing! When I didn’t know what I was doing early on, it was a bit daunting. In the general medicine ward, there’d be such a variety of patients. I’d find people in beds next to each other and this person would have had a heart attack, the next one had COPD, the next has arthritis, the next has had a fall, and so on, so it would be a new thing every time, and it’s a bit confusing at first knowing how to approach different people in these different situations. It gets easier with experience.

How did you get involved with the Blood Donation Society?

I was on a gynaecology ward and I saw a lady who had a miscarriage and lost a lot of blood, about 6 units. They had a delay in her blood type coming over to us and she ended up in the intensive care unit. I just thought that it wasn’t fair.

It doesn’t usually happen that there’s a delay, but it was due to a combination of the lady being a rare ethnicity, it was the middle of the night, and there had been some other major incident that had taken up a lot of the available blood, so there wasn’t even O RhD negative type blood (the Universal Donor) available to give her.

It was very rare and unfortunate that she needed 5 or 6 pints of a rarer blood type, and they just didn’t have the supply that night. She was in the ICU for about a week, but thankfully recovered.

I saw a lot of that kind of thing on placement, and that’s what made me want to get involved with the Blood Donation Society.

How did you restart the society and get other students involved?

I just asked my friends! Me, Vic and Charlotte (who are all here helping today) are nurses and are the committee members for the society. My friend Tom who studies Economics is also on the committee – he’s not a nurse but he wanted to help too.

We have over 300 people signed up to the society. We go along to lots of fairs to get sign ups, like the Freshers Fair and Just Fest.

I donate blood as regularly as I can, about every 3 or 4 months. The NHSBT at the Plymouth Grove Blood Donor Centre work really well with us. They run these events, like today, for people to come along and find out their blood type and register to donate. They give us the stats of how we’re doing – from today’s event we have got 67 new blood donors registered and 32 appointments made!

How did you overcome the initial fear of donating?

The people at Plymouth Grove are really nice and very welcoming. They treat you really well and distract you; I just sit on my phone, listen to music, have the TV on, have some biscuits, so it’s fine! It’s not the best feeling in the world, but it’s certainly not the worst, and if it helps other people then it’s definitely worth it.

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