BACKGROUND: In situations of increased need, such as mass casualty incidents (MCIs) and COVID-19, donated blood products are in shortage across the United States . Medical students are a potential pool for blood donors . The aim of this study was to determine overall attitudes of medical students at a single academic institution toward blood donation during times of increased need .
METHODS: Three anonymous REDCap surveys were administered to all medical students at a rural academic institution . Surveys 1 and 2 were administered preceding and after an institution-wide MCI drill, in September and November 2019, respectively . Survey 3 was administered following a student-organized COVID-19 blood drive in June 2020 . Multivariable analysis was performed to determine if factors, ie, experience with MCI drills and emergency medical services (EMS) training, were associated with willingness to donate blood . Furthermore, barriers to donation among those not willing to donate were assessed .
RESULTS: Overall response rate for MCI surveys (surveys 1 and 2) was 38% (mean age 25.2 years and 50% women). 91% (n = 210) of respondents were willing to donate blood . Previous participation in MCI drills and EMS training was not associated with higher willingness to donate blood . Response rate for survey 3 was 15.6% (59.4% women), and 30 (31.3 %) respondents indicated they did not volunteer to donate blood during the COVID-19 drive . Most common reasons for not donating were``other ,"medical concerns, and being out-of-town .
CONCLUSIONS: Majority of medical students are willing to donate blood during times of increased need and offer a possible solution to increase blood donor pool.