Phlebotomist interpersonal skill predicts a reduction in reactions among volunteer blood donors

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Adverse reactions in response to blood donation negatively affect the likelihood of donor return. In this study, the interpersonal skill of phlebotomists was examined as a potential predictor of both donor reactions and returns for future donation.


Participants were 82 phlebotomists who completed the Social Skills Inventory, a global measure of interpersonal skill. Scores on this measure were used to predict the likelihood of donor reaction (rated by phlebotomists) and return for future donation in two samples of volunteer blood donors associated with these phlebotomists. Use of two samples permitted examination of phlebotomist interpersonal skill as a predictor of donor reactions and returns both before and after the phlebotomists were aware of the interpersonal skills assessment.


Results of multilevel logistic regression analyses demonstrated that a one-standard-deviation increase in Social Skills Inventory score was associated with a significant reduction in the likelihood of donor reaction in the first sample (odds ratio [OR], 0.86; 95% confidence interval [CI], 0.76–0.96) and with a marginally significant reduction in the likelihood of donor reaction in the second sample (OR, 0.90; 95% CI, 0.79–1.02). Social Skills Inventory scores were not related to returns for future donation in either sample.


This study provides the first empirical evidence that phlebotomist interpersonal skill predicts the experience of reactions among volunteer blood donors. A focus on the interpersonal skill of phlebotomists may therefore provide an additional avenue for improving donors' physical well-being and satisfaction, thereby enhancing donor retention.

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