Frequently Asked Questions Specialist in Blood Bank Program

Questions you might have or need to think about before choosing to do the SBB program at a distance

  • How will I obtain the necessary clinical experience?
    • You can use your present place of employment for some of the experience.
    • You will have to find either a transfusion service or blood drawing facility to provide the experience your present place of employment does not have. Any facility you use for experience must complete a Memorandum of Understanding AFTER you get accepted into this program. Please note, any facility may charge you for this experience.
    • The facility where you are working must provide information about their facility.
    • You cannot come to UTMB blood bank to get some of the clinical experience since this facility was greatly damaged during Hurricane Ike. The amount of time you will have to be at different facilities will be different for every student.
  • How does UTMB know the student has completed the necessary experience?
    • There is a set of checklists that a supervisor and/or mentor will have to complete and send back to UTMB. These checklists are EXTENSIVE and time consuming. Remember you are NOT just taking a course to pass the SBB ASCP exam; you are enrolled in a SBB program!
    • There will be evaluations, case studies, unknowns and laboratory assignments.
  • Who is my mentor?
    • Your mentor is a SBB(ASCP), a Medical Director or someone with the extensive experience. Other qualifications must be approved by the Education Coordinator. The mentor for international students must show experience in the field of blood banking.
    • You will choose a mentor and the qualifications will be evaluated by the program.
    • The mentor will have to complete an agreement form and send in a CV and/or resume. The mentor will be given a "book" to help you with your year.
  • Will there be a charge/fee for this program?
    • Yes, the student will be charged $3000 for the twelve month program. You must pay $800 upon signing the acceptance form and $2200 the first day of class. Both amounts will not be refunded.
    • There also might be a charge from your affiliation to use reagents or other items AND where ever you go to get experience to finish the checklist MAY also charge.
  • What type of computer figuration will I need?
    • Please check out these websites: http://www.utmb.edu/is/isbusops/HardwareStandards.aspx and http://www.utmb.edu/is/isbusops/SoftwareStandards.aspx These are STANDARDS used at UTMB and does not mean you can't have more but it will be harder if you have something less.
    • We will be using BlackBoard Software. You must be able to stay on line for up to three hours to complete an exam.
    • You will have to download PowerPoint presentations - some quite large so a high speed connection will make life easier for you.
    • You should have at least methods to access the internet. If you are using a laptop and that laptop dies, then what are you going to do take the test or get the information. Please think about this before you apply as not having access to the internet is not an acceptable excuse for NOT taking an exam on time.
  • Do I have to come to UTMB?
    • Yes you will be required to come to UTMB for the first week of the program. During this week you will be oriented to BlackBoard, attend lectures, develop your schedule and become acquainted with other students. You must pay for all costs associated with this week.
    • Other visits may be necessary as determined by the mentor, the student and UTMB's education coordinator. All effort will be made to keep these trips to Galveston at a minimum.
  • How will I take written and practical exams?
    • Written exams will be given through online Blackboard. This is a program developed for testing and other distance education activities.
    • Practical exams will be done by using email. Unknown samples will be sent to you by your fellow students.
  • How will I obtain information to study for the exams?
    • UTMB will provide objectives and reading suggestions. You will do the reading and answer the objectives.
    • Notes/outlines will be provided using PowerPoint presentations on BlackBoard. Lecturers will be available via email and a bulletin board, for you to clarify problems you might have.
    • You can get help from the the UTMB education coordinator and "lecturers". The Medical Director of the program will be available at designated times.
    • Please note, you will not be able to HEAR the lectures and there is currently very little hands on. This is the same material you would get if you went to an onsite program minus the face to face lectures.
  • How much time should I give for this program?
    • Each person is different; however, I would dedicate at least two hours a night during the week and possibly one 8 hour day on the weekend for studying.
    • For the clinical rotation requirements, most of the checklists hopefully can be done from the current and previous work you have done in blood banking. If not, then you may have to take vacation time and spend some time observing donor "stuff" at a blood center.
  • What books should I buy?
    • I do not REQUIRE you to purchase books. Everyone should have access or a copy of the Technical Manual and the AABB Standards. I think any current Immunohematology book is acceptable to use; my personal favorite is edited by Denise Harmening. BUT again, you do not have to purchase these books; there are great internet sites and your place of employment may have books you can use.
    • For a list of books, please refer to the ASCP.org website. They have a list of books recommended for studying for the SBB ASCP exam. I will give this list out during the first week of orientation.
  • What if I cannot keep up with the scheduled tests and clinical requirements?
    • You must take the exams at the scheduled time. If you are late or do not pass the exam with a 75%, you will be put on academic probation. You will be given one more chance to stay on schedule or pull your grade up. All situations will be discussed as each student will have different problems. However we are very strict about when you must take the tests.
    • UTMB reserves the right to "drop" a student from the program due to poor performance or not keeping up with the schedule. If the student is dropped from the program for poor performance, no refunds will be given.
  • What if I change places of employment during my year of training? What if my mentor leaves or decides they do not want to continue?
    • You are encouraged to keep the same position for the year. If you must change positions, the new facility must agree to continue with your training. New affiliation information and forms must be completed.
    • If the mentor leaves, most likely this will not be too much of a problem, but it will depend on the student.
  • So all I have to do is study, take the tests and complete the checklists for the clinical experience?
    • No, you must also complete a research project, present critiques on journal articles and antibody cases, prepare unknown samples and complete a management and education project.
    • This is a long and very busy year. You will study for 12 tests plus a midterm and final exam. You will have to do your clinical rotations and all the projects. PLUS you will still be working and possibly interacting with friends and family.
  • My mentor wants to know what he/she will be required to do.
    • The mentor will be the person that the Education Coordinator can contact if you are struggling.
    • The mentor is the person who can help you find places to do your clinical checklists.
    • Your mentor will have to provide you with some samples as indicated in the homework assignments.
    • The mentor may be the person you can talk to about problems; help you study.
    • The mentor will be given a book/CD with all objectives and checklists; they will not have a copy of the tests.

So are you ready to apply? If so, complete the application process and if you meet the required points, a conference call will be set up so you can make an informed decision about becoming a student in the UTMB SBB program.