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Clinical Transfusion Practice

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Clinical Transfusion Practice aims to promote safe transfusion practice and the appropriate use of blood components.

It is relevant for medical staff who prescribe transfusions, nurses and midwives who administer the transfusion and laboratory workers who want to gain an appreciation of the clinical aspects of blood transfusion.

Content covers the transfusion chain from donor to patient and includes the risks and benefits of transfusions, principles of positive patient identification, how to label blood specimens, picking up and transporting blood, administering a transfusion, patient monitoring and management of transfusion reactions.

Course content is based on national guidelines and has been developed in collaboration with leading transfusion medicine experts from around Australia.

Learning modules

M1   The decision to transfuse risks, benefits and informed consent
M2   Pretransfusion samples – Importance of patient identification and specimen labelling
M3   Picking up blood – Transporting and storage of blood
M4   Administering blood – Clinical administration and monitoring of patients
M5   Transfusion reactions – Recognising and responding to acute adverse events.

This course takes on average two hours to complete.

‘Failure during any of the blood transfusion steps can lead to the transfusion of the wrong blood to the wrong patient with potentially fatal consequences.’ – Dr Kathryn Robinson, Haematologist

Course Details

M1 The decision to transfuse

On completion of this module you should be able to:

  • outline a patient blood management approach to patient care
  • identify the risks and benefits to be considered when deciding if a patient requires a transfusion
  • communicate the risks and benefits of transfusion to patients and/or their caregivers to allow them to make informed decisions
  • determine and document the blood product required, urgency, timing, special requirements and dose when prescribing a transfusion
  • describe the steps for ordering blood components from the hospital’s transfusion laboratory.

M2 Pre-transfusion samples

On completion of this module you should be able to:

  • explain why correct patient identification is important when collecting blood specimens
  • demonstrate the correct procedure for identifying a patient
  • correctly label a pretransfusion specimen and complete the necessary forms
  • identify the risks associated with not following the correct procedure.

M3 Picking up blood

On completion of this module you should be able to:

  • transport and store blood products in the appropriate conditions within a hospital setting
  • explain the importance of checking patient identity when picking up blood
  • use the correct procedures for checking the identification details of the patient and the blood component when collecting a blood pack from a transfusion laboratory or blood fridge.

M4 Administering blood

On completion of this module you should be able to:

  • demonstrate the correct patient identity and product checking procedures to ensure the right pack is given to the right patient
  • use the appropriate equipment and processes when administering blood components
  • apply the ’30-minute and 4-hour’ rule to blood removed from storage
  • apply and explain best practice for monitoring patients during and after a transfusion
  • document the transfusion process appropriately.

M5 Monitoring and reactions

On completion of this module you should be able to:

  • identify steps to prevent transfusion reactions
  • recognise, respond and report appropriately in the event of a possible transfusion reaction.

This course was revised and Version 2.0 released in April 2017.

The content is based on current clinical guidelines, other evidence-based material and/or expert opinion. We regularly review our courses to reflect any changes in these source materials.

Endorsement & CPD

BloodSafe eLearning Australia seeks endorsement and allocation of CPD points for courses from medical, nursing and midwifery colleges, societies and healthcare organisations. Further information on professional organisations and CPD points is provided below.


ANZSBT Logo June 05 Australian and New Zealand Society of Blood Transfusion (ANZSBT)
International Society of Blood Transfusion (ISBT)
ARCBS lscape 2010 Australian Red Cross Blood Service
Victorian Blood Matter Logo Oct 11_BM-001 Blood Matters Program, Victoria
Bloodsafe South Australian BloodSafe Program
Bloodwatch Blood Watch Program, Clinical Excellence Commission, NSW
Queensland Health

Continuing Professional Development (CPD)

ANZCA logo_2014 Australian and New Zealand College of Anaesthetists
Approved for 1 credit per hour under Category 2/Level 1. Approval Number 176.
AIMS_Apace Australian Institute of Medical Scientists
APACE Continuing Education Scheme
This activity has been approved by the Australian Institute of Medical Scientists for 10 continuing education units under the APACE continuing education scheme.
NMBoard_web Nursing and Midwifery Board of Australia
Under continuing professional development (CPD) standards set by the Nursing and Midwifery Board of Australia one hour of active learning equals one hour of CPD.User evaluation of the Clinical Transfusion Practice course, demonstrates that on average it takes approximately two hours to complete all five modules in this package. Therefore it is recommended that two hours be recorded for the purpose of self-directed CPD.
Other Professions and Medical Specialties
User evaluation of the Clinical Transfusion Practice course, demonstrates that on average it takes approximately two hours to complete all five modules in this package. Therefore it is recommended that two hours be recorded for the purpose of CPD.



There is an online assessment of six multiple choice questions at the end of each module within the

Clinical Transfusion Practice course.

A minimum grade of 66% (four out of six questions correct) is required to complete each module.

A certificate will be automatically emailed to your registered email address after you have successfully

completed the assessment for all modules.

If you don’t pass a module assessment, you can redo it as many times as you need. It is recommended

you revisit the learning content because the assessment questions may change for each attempt.

You must complete the assessment for this course within three months. If not, then the assessment will need to be commenced again.

You can see a summary of the courses and modules you have successfully completed in My Certificates or via the Course certificates link on the My courses page.

Development Team

Project Manager

David Peterson

Medical Editor

Dr Amanda Thomson

Project Lead

Louise English and Amanda Catherwood

Peer Review Group

Thanks to Dr Jacoba Von Wielligh, Adrienne Wynne, Amanda Catherwood, Angie Monk and the wider group of health professionals who provided evaluation and feedback during the development process.

Subject Matter Experts

Trudi Verrall
David Peterson
Susan Ogley

Expert Interviews

Thanks to Associate Professor Erica Wood, Dr Ellen Maxwell, Associate Professor Craig French, Dr Bev Quested, Susan Rishworth, Linley Bielby, Trish Roberts, Helen Stathopoulos, Adrienne Wynne, Dawn Richardson, Angie Monk and Sarah Owen for their willingness to contribute to this program.

Others Involved in Clinical Videos:

Nurses: Danielle Boyd-Turner, Fiona Duffus, Angela Cavallaro and Susan Ogley
Medical Staff: Dr Amanda Thomson
Patient (Catherine Thomson): Kari Bienert
Hospital Porter/Courier: Adam Jones
Presenter: Michelle Nightingale
Ken: Peter Ferris
Patient (George Purcell) – PJ Oaten
Extras: Martin Verrall, Elizabeth Hetzel, Kathryn Dordoy, Louise English, Bethany Samuel and David Mackenzie

Educational Design

Wendy Kennedy

Production Team

Production Studio: Digital Media Unit, Centre for Education and Training, Women’s and Children’s Health Network, Adelaide, South Australia.
Interactive design and development: Chris Faulkner, Peter Bailes
Editor: Helen Snoswell
Graphic Design: Kristin Stone and Laura Michelmore
Photography: Chris Sprod
Video Production: Ian Bone and Greg Opie
Content editor and quality assurance: Helen Snoswell
Learning Management System: Brightcookie Pty Ltd

Funding for BloodSafe eLearning Australia has been provided by all Australian Governments via the National Blood Authority.

Case Studies

Case studies used in this eLearning program are based on real cases reported in Australia and overseas. In order to protect the identity of those involved patient names, demographic information and other details have been changed.