SCABB Blog

The Blood Bank Guy: A Conversation with Dr. Joe Chaffin Part IV

We just see the end result but how long does it usually take for you to put together a BBGuy video? Where do you gain your inspiration for new content on your website?

o   I haven’t done video for several years, but the old videos that I did (some of which are getting outdated and will soon be removed) were the result of an enormous amount of work. I am a blood banker, so it will surprise no one that I suffer from the curse of perfectionism! Because I tried to make everything “just right,” each video took weeks to produce. I look at those videos today and see so many things I would change (they are NOT perfect!), but they seem to have helped many, many people, so I’m grateful.

For new content, I usually just follow the emails and questions I receive. Early on, I set up a link on BBGuy.org for people to ask me things (BBGuy.org/Ask). Today, I receive dozens of questions every week from the site, as well as from Facebook and Twitter. When you get that much input, certain themes often start to pop out. For example, I mentioned earlier that I did a recent podcast on the DAT with Sue Johnson. In 2016, I received numerous technical and interpretation queries about the DAT, so I asked Sue to discuss it with me on the podcast early in 2017. I was shocked at the response, as the episode (BBGuy.org/028) was downloaded over 2000 times in the first three days after it was released!

You’ve started podcasting recently, what has been your most memorable interview so far? Who would you like to have on your podcast but haven’t been able to yet?

o   I feel so fortunate to have had so many people that I respect be guests on the Blood Bank Guy Essentials Podcast so far! There’s no way I could pick just one! I had Nancy Heddle on shortly after the RECESS trial on the age of blood controversy was published, Jeff Carson after the AABB RBC transfusion guideline came out, and I interviewed two people that I really admire in immunohematology, Connie Westhoff and Sue Johnson. Those were terrific, but I guess if I had to choose, two interviews really stand out as being most memorable: First, episode 033 (BBGuy.org/033) with Dr. Scott Weingart. Scott is an Emergency Medicine/Critical Care physician, and he had me on his podcast (EMCrit.org/202) to discuss blood bank issues for his audience, and I had him on mine to discuss Emergency Medicine issues for mine. Those interviews generated lots of interest, and were eye-opening for many! Second, episode 012 with Cassandra Josephson was so much fun! Cassandra is a world-renowned pediatric transfusion specialist, and like me, she talksreallyfast when she gets excited! We had an absolute blast discussing pediatric transfusion topics.

As far as other “dream guests,” I’ll just have to keep that one to myself! You’ll find out!

What advice would you have to someone following in your footsteps or someone wanting to educate others out there about transfusion medicine?

o   I always tell those that I am teaching that they must follow their passions. Don’t ever try to be something that you aren’t. I realized very early in my career that I just loved to teach people the essentials of blood banking and transfusion medicine. I didn’t need to be standing up at the AABB Annual Meeting discussing super high-powered and esoteric research topics. I’m grateful for those that are gifted to do that; clearly, we need smart people to make new discoveries and publish cutting edge stuff! However, that isn’t my sweet spot, or my desire, and I love the platform from which I get to operate. Everyone should find their own path, suited to their passions and talents.

As far as future educators, my advice is simply that they should be sure that education is the pathway they really want. In my view, lousy teachers do more harm than good to those they are teaching, so people who hate to teach, shouldn’t teach! Further, all teachers should prepare to be committed to those you are teaching. I truly believe the old saying, “People don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care.” Whether I am teaching someone one-on-one or speaking into a mic to an unknown listener while recording a podcast, I am deeply invested in their success. I want to see a new generation of blood bankers take our field to something far beyond anything I could have imagined! My mission is to help them lay a solid educational foundation on which those amazing future discoveries can be built.

Can you tell us what to expect on any future interviews, podcasts or videos?

o   Blood banking can be difficult and complex, especially to those who are just starting out or who have been away from the field for a while. The future of BBGuy.org is to continue hammering home the principles of basic blood banking and transfusion medicine. I will keep putting together content that accomplishes that goal. I see the site as a place where people can always go and learn the basics. I’m excited to let SCABB folks know that I have teamed up with TransfusionNews.com on an exciting new collaboration that will help people get even more benefit from listening to my podcast (check back soon for more details)!

In addition, I am working on a new project for those who want to take things to the next level in their progression to mastery of blood banking. I believe people learn better with personal interaction with an educator who cares about their success and with a community of other learners. As a result, I am developing an online blood banking educational course that will offer on-demand, high quality, on-camera video teaching as well as direct, regular access to me and to others who can help answer their questions. The idea is to guide people along the pathway toward not just passing a test, but achieving true mastery of the topic! Details are coming soon, but people can get on the information list at BBGuy.org/subscribe and I’ll keep them posted.

What has been your favorite Blood Bank Guy interview?  Do you have any additional questions for Dr. Joe Chaffin? 

 Or any thoughts for future interviews or educational content?

 SCABB offers a variety of educational webinar topics including SCABB Online Accredited Resources (SOAR) and upcoming SCABBinars.

 Please check out the educational opportunities and additional information available at SCABB.org and BBGuy.org. 

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