When was the last time you had your blood drawn? Everybody needs to have their blood tested at some point in their life. Getting jabbed with a needle or finger prick may not be the most pleasant thing, but it’s necessary to find out if you are healthy. Who is the person that draws blood? That’s the job of a phlebotomist.
A phlebotomist is an individual trained to draw and collect a patient’s blood and then transport it to a lab for analysis and diagnosis. Drawing blood requires training and phlebotomists must be certified.
People need blood drawn for a variety of reasons – blood tests, transfusions, or donations. Tests may be used to diagnose STDs, drugs, proteins, liver function, DNA type, and a variety of other medical diseases and disorders.
Phlebotomists draw blood in hospitals, nursing homes, outpatient clinics, or blood drives.
Drawing blood is an important part of healthcare. Phlebotomists are responsible to draw, collect, label, and deliver each patient’s blood. They can never make mistakes – imagine accidentally switching a patient’s blood samples and they get the wrong, scary diagnosis.
Phlebotomists are required to train at an accredited phlebotomy school for 6 weeks to 6 months. Their training covers anatomy, patient interaction, legal aspects, blood collection, precautions, and more. A few phlebotomists learn through on the job training, but the majority obtain certification from a certifying agencies like the American Society for Clinical Pathology, the American Medical Technologists, the National Healthcare Association, or the National Phlebotomy Association. Be sure to check what is required where you want to work.
Phlebotomists must be proficient at a variety of blood collection methods and know how to perform each one without causing pain or harm to a patient. They need to be able to find and draw blood from veins and capillaries. They need to identify if a patient is capable of giving blood – sometimes a patient must fast before blood collection. If blood is taken incorrectly it is worthless for tests.
Good bedside manner and the ability to explain bloodtaking procedures makes patients feel at ease. The job requires sticking patients with needles and it is often necessary to calm them down. Sometimes patients may faint and others may freak out at the sight of their own blood. The proper training and skills will help exude confidence and ensure the phlebotomist is prepared to troubleshoot any problem and will always be able to find a plump vein to poke.
A typical day for a phlebotomist takes place in a hospital setting. They use needles, finger pricks, antiseptic, tourniquets, gloves, sample tubes, alcohol, and gauze. After gloves are put on, the phlebotomist applies a tight elastic tourniquet that helps bring the vein to the surface of the skin. As the vein is filling, the vein area is cleaned with a sanitary alcohol swab. The vein is then stuck with a needle and blood is drawn into the sample tube. Then gauze is used to stop extra blood flow. Lucky patients may get a cool Scooby Doo bandaid to show their battle scar. As soon as the procedure is completed, the tube is labeled with the patient’s information and taken to the lab for analysis and diagnosis.
This job has a high danger potential because of blood born disease. A phlebotomist must always wear protective gloves and be extremely aware of sharp needles. One prick of a needle from an infected patient can infect the phlebotomist too. Proper body-substance isolation and correct sharps disposal are an absolute safety necessity.
Phlebotomy is a great healthcare career path as long as you aren’t squeamish around blood and needles. Everybody will come into contact with a phlebotomist at some point in life. Maybe that phlebotomist will be you? If it is please remember to always wear protection.
A phlebotomist works about 40 hours per week makes about $17 per hour or between $28,000 and $44,000 per year. There are plenty of jobs available because blood collection is vital to the health care industry. Here is the latest salary information:
Quick Facts About Becoming a Phlebotomist
Job Title: Phlebotomist
Office: Sanitized, hospital setting
Description: Draw and collect patient’s blood
Certifications/Education: Phlebotomist Certification
Necessary Skills: Knowledge of anatomy, blood collection techniques
Potential Employers: Hospitals, Blood banks, Doctor’s offices, Nursing homes
Pay: $28,000 to $32,000 or about $18 per hour