While “phlebotomy” is a word that one will rarely encounter, an individual has most likely interacted with a phlebotomist before. A phlebotomist is a healthcare professional who is responsible for drawing blood properly and labeling the drawn blood accurately. In addition, a phlebotomist is required to verify patient identity while ensuring that all the blood drawing equipment remains sterile and safe. Sometimes, phlebotomists must also calm down patients who are uneasy about having their blood drawn. Phlebotomists are often responsible for processing the paperwork and reports that come with the blood specimens and the information they provide. Because phlebotomists are usually the only laboratory technicians who interact with patients on a daily basis, phlebotomists should have strong communication skills.
There are a few requirements to become a phlebotomist. The minimum education requirement for a phlebotomist is just a high school diploma. High school students who wish to become phlebotomists should take a variety of science classes including biology. While New Hampshire does not currently have any certification rules governing phlebotomy education, completing post-secondary education programs for phlebotomy will make one a more competitive candidate when applying for phlebotomy jobs. Many vocational programs and community colleges in New Hampshire will offer a phlebotomy certification course. Because most phlebotomy positions require experience in the field, the phlebotomy course will include both classroom learning and clinical learning. In the classroom, aspiring phlebotomists will learn basic anatomy and physiology, safety procedures, medical terminology and safe blood sample handling. Clinical training will involve learning how to draw blood from patients. Some phlebotomy training programs will offer internships for students to gain more experience. Students can take a national certification exam, such as the one offered by the American Society of Clinical Pathologists or the one offered by the American Medical Technologists, after successfully passing the course.
Continuing education is not required for phlebotomists in New Hampshire because New Hampshire does not currently require phlebotomists to be certified. However, achieving a national certification in phlebotomy can lead to a higher salary, better job security and increased job proficiency. In order to maintain the certification, phlebotomists must take continuing education courses offered by a variety of organizations including the American Society of Clinical Laboratory Science. The continuing education can take the form of large conferences of phlebotomists and other laboratory technicians to self-instructional material delivered through the Internet or through CDs.
Phlebotomists Work Environment
Phlebotomists can be found in a variety of work environments, from blood donation centers to private practices to hospitals to medical laboratories. Most commonly, phlebotomists are found within hospital and surgical settings. The average salary of a phlebotomist is about $30,000. Phlebotomy is a fast growing career field with a projected growth rate of 27 percent. Phlebotomists also have considerable job security as the unemployment rate was only 4.1 percent in 2012. Aspiring phlebotomists should expect to work full-time and on some nights, weekends and holidays.
While becoming a phlebotomist will take an initial investment of time and effort, phlebotomy will allow one to make a profound difference in others’ lives. Becoming a phlebotomist will be a rewarding and fulfilling career to those who truly care about others.