Critical staffing shortage at LifeServe brings ‘alarmingly low’ blood supply
MASON CITY — Many Iowa businesses are struggling due to a lack of qualified job applicants, including LifeServe Blood Center, which says its critical staffing shortage has led to an “alarmingly low” blood supply.
LifeServe spokeswoman Danielle West says the non-profit community-based blood supplier is facing an unprecedented staff shortage which she calls “scary.” “Unfortunately, we’ve had to cancel quite a few mobile blood drives just because we don’t have enough staff to work there and in our donor centers,” West says. “We’re putting all of our staff into our donor centers and hoping that donors will come find us there because we absolutely still need those donations.”
West says all blood types are urgently needed in Iowa. “Really, most of our blood types right now are around a one-day supply and ideally, we like a three- to five-day supply,” West says. “It’s a scary situation where we really need everybody that can come in and first-time donors, people who have never given it a try, we would love to see them, too.”
The past year-and-a-half of the pandemic has been challenging for many Iowa health care workers, and perhaps some of them are looking to make a change. “We’re hiring in quite a few areas,” West says. “Our donor services team that does the phlebotomy, donor screening, we have lots of positions open there, all over the state, really,” West says. “And in our lab, we have a lot of positions open there as well.”
LifeServe is facing an uncertain future as many big businesses in Iowa that had been hosting blood drives weekly or at least monthly now have many employees working remotely. West says she’s optimistic at least some of those businesses will be bringing workers back into the office in the next month or so. “We’re also hoping that our high schools and colleges come back in the fall,” West says. “Those were really impacted by COVID as well. We had to cancel a lot of those blood drives and that’s where we get a lot of our first-time donors, those young donors who want to come out and help save lives.”
LifeServe is the only provider of blood and blood products to more than 120 hospitals in Iowa, Nebraska, and South Dakota. LifeServe has a donor center in Mason City. Call 800-287-4903 or visit www.lifeservebloodcenter.org.