STANTON, Del. – The first time Nathan Romanic entered the Blood Bank of Delmarva it was March 17, 2022, St. Patrick’s Day to be exact.
Nathan donated blood for the first time in our Christiana Donor Center so that he could observe phlebotomy up close and personal as he began his studies at Phleb Starz Academy.
Little did he know he would return as a Blood Collection Technician I the following July.
Since his arrival last summer, Nathan has impressed leadership with his work ethic and talent, and he has already risen to the rank of Blood Collection Tech II. Another promotion is already looming.
It’s also worth noting that some excellent talent has followed him here to BBD.
“Nathan has been a great addition,” Director, Donor/Product Services Megan Johnson said. “He’s part of the young nucleus of phlebotomists that have been part of the Christiana Donor Center’s staff overhaul. Donors are coming back because of kids like Nathan.
“He’s eager to be here; he wants to do a good job,” she added. “He’s saving the caps to the needles he used to know how many lives he’s saved. At 21 years old – that’s remarkable.”
Speaking of remarkable, on the same day that we emailed Nathan his questions for this interview, he responded later that night because he is a man of his word. Thanks for your time, Nathan.
Q It’s been more than a year since I first met you on St. Patrick’s Day, March 17, last year, as you donated for the first time to observe phlebotomy as part of your journey to becoming a phlebotomist. Did you know at that time you were going to apply to BBD?
A Upon pursuing phlebotomy, I never had the Blood Bank of Delmarva in mind. I was planning on working in a hospital or lab, but toward the end of my schooling, we were visited by Debbie Fincher. After the amazing things I heard, I knew the Blood Bank of Delmarva was where I wanted to be.
Q What was Phleb Starz Academy like? And is BBD venipuncture different than what you learned from Kelly, Lynda and Jen?
A Phleb Starz Medical Academy was a very great phlebotomy school for what it was. I had amazing teachers that made sure I would pass my exam, and always making sure I knew I was doing a good job. As far as regular venipunctures go, in my opinion, very different. The needle we use in whole blood is much bigger and requires much precision. I was truly terrified the first time using both, but now I do it without a second thought.
Q Your first anniversary with us will be this summer, i.e. July. How has your journey been?
A Truthfully, it hasn’t even felt like a year. Time has moved by so quickly, my journey here in my eyes has been very successful. I’ve moved up quickly and I’ve always been willing to learn and accept any challenge they throw at me.
Q Out of five phlebotomists hired in July 2022, you and one other Blood Collection Tech, Savannah Geiger, remain. Is that what you call survival of the fittest?
A The situations involving the other three techs is very complex. In a way I would say it has been survival of the fittest.
Q Speaking of which, you’re definitely not a beta male. The question is, are you an alpha or a sigma?
A I wouldn’t say I fit into either category; I like to see myself as my own individual taking it one day at a time. And acknowledging who I am and who I’m meant to be.
Q Sometimes, a group of young professionals come along that make us think, how did we get along without them? That includes D’Mani Truitt, Jania Harris, Jenell Newell and Natasha “Weezy” Watson, etc. Can you talk about the excellent personnel you have specifically brought to us, including Julia Seichepine, Dylan Moncrief and Daisy Tannen?
A Savannah brought in Daisy. I’ve known Dylan a very long time, since freshman year of high school to be exact, and he has helped me through very tough times through my years of knowing him. He’s always been a caring individual and I thought he would make a great fit in the Blood Bank of Delmarva’s mission. I’ve only known Julia for a year or so; we worked together at our previous job. I told her about phlebotomy and would volunteer for her [phlebotomy] clinicals. She was naturally great at it, and I knew the Blood Bank would love her personality and she’d fit right in. I consider both great friends and love them both to death.
Q We have Director, Donor/Product Services (North) Megan Johnson and three supervisors in Christiana, Gilroy Jack, Ahmeer Prescott and Kisha Spence. What is it like to work with them?
A Working with them is honestly amazing. Ahmeer, who is my direct supervisor, always makes sure I’m on top of myself. Each supervisor has helped me improve my craft in different ways, and always lets me know what I can improve on. Megan is always a huge support with anything I may come to her about, and never fails to check up on her staff, which I am beyond grateful for.
Q Congratulations on your recent promotion. Can you tell us about it? And when do you start in apheresis?
A I will begin my classroom training to become a BCT III toward the end of May, where I will learn to become a platelet tech. I am both extremely excited and nervous.
Q You’re a young man, that is to say, a member of Generation Z. What is the secret to recruiting more young blood donors?
A I think the secret to it may be as simple as getting on nearly all social media platforms, as my generation is so buried in our phones.
Q Speaking of young donors, you have been asked to help out at the University of Delaware Blood Drive often this school year. Do you think your youth allows you to interact well with donors?
A Overall I believe it does. As funny as it may sound, on the UD mobiles I usually have a script in my head to make it easier for some of them. For most, it is their first time donating and I want to make it an enjoyable experience, and less of them just getting stabbed with a needle.
Q At the spring semester blood drive, a University of Delaware student with the same first and middle name as you, Nathan Daniel, was set to play golf later after his donation that day. You advised him against it. He was insistent and asked, what could happen? You told him that if he overexerted himself, at worst he could faint and at best a welt could appear at the site of his venipuncture. “Can I pop it?” he asked. “No, don’t pop it,” you answered. “Ice it.” That was good advice. Also, a young lady passed out and you came to her aid. Calendar Specialist Jamie Serrano called you a hero. What’s it like to become so knowledgeable in phlebotomy?
A Becoming knowledgeable in the field I work is very important. Naturally, people will ask questions. … Either about the procedure, or what may come after.
Q How would you describe your rapport with donors in general?
A Upon starting, the trainers tell us things like, “you will get to know your donors.” There are multiple donors that come in that may either request me to do their procedure, remember things I’ve told them, conversations we may have had, or even want updates on things that have happened lately. Making friends with donors makes it that much easier for them to come back.
Q How would you describe your personality in general, extrovert, introvert, somewhere in between?
A There are some days where I can be either one. I feel like my Mom would describe me as more of an introvert as I’ve been known to “take it all in.”
Q Jason Painter came in to donate double red cells on Tuesday, April 18, and he complimented you on your stick. “I didn’t even feel it go in,” Jason said. After you had bandaged him up, he commended you to Supervisor, Collections Kisha Spence. Jason, of course, is the father of the famous Maverick Painter. That had to feel good, no? What’s it like to be skilled with venipuncture now?
A Being “skilled” at venipunctures feels very rewarding. It helps me know that my hard work has paid off.
Q We used to have a Blood Collection Tech, Josh Wall, who was known for his cool hair. I think we’re ready to anoint you as the new “guy with the cool hair.” Are you ready for that?
A Bring it on.
Q Speaking of which, what is the secret to being cool?
A It’s as easy as just being you.
Q Where do you see yourself in five years?
A In five years I’d love to see myself as maybe a supervisor, married and perhaps even another child … maybe a little bit more time for that second part.
Q Is there anything else you want to add?
A Come in and donate some blood; we never have enough.
Lastly, can you provide us with some details about yourself?
Residence – Wilmington, Delaware
Education-Certified phlebotomist, Phleb Starz Academy; Thomas McKean High School
Advice– Don’t ever let someone tell you who you can or can’t be.
Quote– “Trying to define yourself is like trying to bite your own teeth.”