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Phlebotomist wins Collections Team Member national award

A STBTC team member’s customer service, leadership, and support of the mission of saving lives has led to a national award: Donor Collections Team Member of the Year.

Jonah Noriega, Lead Donor Care Specialist on bloodmobiles, received the award from The Association of Donor Relations Professionals (ADRP) “to recognize the valuable role collections plays in the donor experience.”

“This award makes me feel like I’m achieving my goals,” he said. He has been with South Texas Blood & Tissue Center since 2019.

His past customer service experience in hospitality proved useful.

“When I started here, I never worked in a blood center,” said Jonah. “But I had a real hand in collection, so I did good with picking up techniques and learned quick.”

In 2020, with a decrease of blood drives because of COVID-19, Jonah still screened 1,716 donors, collected 1,086 whole blood donors with a First Time Right blood draw of 97.4%, and added 76 double red blood cell units.

For Jonah, the most interesting place for a blood drive has been at Lubbock.

“The drives are really big and for a couple of days,” said Jonah.

“There’s a lot of motivation to do the conversion to double red cells and we see a lot of people.”

In fact, Jonah and his team worked closely with Donor Recruitment to deliver 174 units from UMC Health System in Lubbock. Both donors and the blood drive chairperson were happy with the team effort.

Working during the pandemic made blood donations extra special.

“What keeps me working is to end the blood shortage,” said Jonah.

“There’s so many people that don’t donate unfortunately. But I look forward to the challenge to keep saving lives when it’s most needed.”

As to the future, his next goal is Senior Lead Donor Care Specialist.Pictures from the celebration

Jonah’s ADRP nomination

Jonah is a go-getter. He enjoys helping others. When he is out at a blood drive he gives more than 100% in everything he does. Some say he is competitive but I say he is productive and motivated. Jonah understands our mission of bridging caring people to patients.

Additionally, Jonah volunteers to pick up extra shifts and is always willing to go on any overnight blood drives.

Lastly, I would like to recognize his attendance. He makes every effort to arrive on time and to every shift he is scheduled for.

Jonah became a Lead Donor Care Specialist in our San Antonio Team in late 2019. Every day that Jonah is scheduled to work, he comes in with a plan for his team. He already has his mind set to exceed projected goals. He is focused on his First Time Right Rate and aims to be the best.

In 2020, with a decrease of donors due to COVID-19, Jonah screened 1,716 donors, collected 1,086 whole blood donors with a First Time Right of 97.4 percent, and was able to add 76 double red blood cell units to our inventory. Jonah has received the High Performer award which was earned by consistently following our SOPs and delivering quality products for our patients.

Jonah is our team cheerleader. He meets and greets every donor that walks into his blood drives. He provides a superior donor experience by giving them more than they expect. Jonah will even step in for a selfie with a donor. When a donor is scared, he will offer a hand to hold or a few words of encouragement. Jonah gives his undivided attention to each and every donor he meets. Jonah ensures his donors are well taken care of and that they want to come back to give their lifesaving gift over and over again.

Jonah’s internal customer service is no different. He takes the time to greet his coworkers with a huge smile and a big hello. He enjoys collaborating with our Donor Recruiters to ensure our blood drives are productive and are running efficiently. In November 2020, Jonah worked closely with one of our Donor Recruitment Supervisors and together they delivered 174 units from UMC Health System in Lubbock. The donors and chairperson were very happy with the team effort.

In March of 2020, we were hit by COVID-19 and our productivity decreased. This did not stop Jonah from wanting to be the best Lead Donor Care Specialist. He assisted where he was needed and took every opportunity to learn from some of the very best leaders here. Jonah leads by example by speaking and acting with honesty and integrity.

When he sees a team member struggling, he will quickly jump in and offer his assistance with a positive and professional attitude. Without being asked to, Jonah has taken the time to mentor two of his team members and provided feedback to his supervisor. Jonah is hungry for more and seeks opportunities to make his team the best.