Publication date: Aug 29, 2023
Transfusion services and blood banks in the United States have struggled with staffing shortages for decades. Unfortunately, the COVID-19 pandemic and other factors have exacerbated these challenges to the point of crisis for many. Meanwhile, providing quality patient care continues to demand accurate test results and safe blood products delivered in a timely fashion. A group of academic Transfusion Medicine Physicians and a Medical Laboratory Scientist from five academic medical centers in the United States met and discussed the steps we explored and took during the staffing crisis that hit during the pandemic. Our goal was to assist our colleagues and the community by detailing the strategies that helped keep us operational during the most extreme staffing shortage we have experienced to date. We provide both short-term solutions to include hiring temporary and per diem technologists, consolidating testing, and sending out non-time-sensitive testing; and long-term strategies such as recruiting and hiring laboratory assistants, providing retention and referral bonuses, and increasing compensation. The objective is to address the staffing shortage on multiple fronts (e. g., personnel management, testing, and organization) with the objective of not compromising safety, quality, or patient care. The ultimate long-term goal is to advocate for and build a stronger laboratory workforce for tomorrow.