Start Date: 1979
We Are the Champions!
After graduating with my nursing degree in 1979, I came to MedStar Washington Hospital Center and entered the operating room training program. I have been in the OR ever since. There was never any other type of nursing for me. And as an OR nurse, I quickly learned the critical importance of the hospital's blood bank.
In the summer of 1983, like most summer seasons, the hospital and the whole Washington area was suffering from a lack of available blood. At that time, we handled a lot of surgical procedures-car accident victims, too-in which patients suffered a lot of blood loss. I knew how critical it was to have blood on hand. So when the hospital announced a competition, I thought it was a fantastic opportunity. One team of hospital staff members was pitted against another, to see which could donate more blood. I was always a blood donor, so I volunteered to lead the OR team.
During three months that summer and for the next two years, I rallied the team, using every tactic I could find. During Morning Report, I would play Queen's "We Are the Champions" to pump people up, or the theme song from Rocky. It felt so good and was great for team building. And it worked. The OR team won three years in a row. In the summer of 1985, 92 percent of the team participated, and we donated 34 percent of all the blood collected in the hospital. We knew that it could be our unit of blood hanging in the OR, saving a patient's life.
During the competition for additional motivation, I also posted a wonderful essay I had discovered called "What Good is a Blood Donor?" It listed all the people who are helped by blood donations: people in the wrong place at the wrong time; for kids who fall out of trees; people who are in a lot worse shape than most people know. A blood donor is good for any of us, at any time.