The term “phlebotomy” originates from the Greek words “phlebo,” which means “as regards a blood vessel,” and “tomy,” meaning “to make an incision.” It is the process of making an incision in a blood vein using a needle, also known as venipuncture. Thus, a phlebotomist is an allied health professional who draws blood from patients or blood donors for medical testing.
Most people fear to visit a doctor’s office to have their blood drawn. So, it takes a skilled phlebotomist to know how to deal with each patient and situation.
What are the Duties of a Phlebotomist?
Once you become a phlebotomist in Vermont, your duties will be to:
• Explain procedures to patients
• Clean and sterilize equipment
• Take patients’ pulse, blood pressure, and respiration rate
• Prepare stains and reagents
• Update patients’ records
• Interpret test results
• Practice needed methods of asepsis
• Perform skin and vein puncture
• Withdraw blood from patients
Where Do Phlebotomists Work?
Because of different blood collection needs, phlebotomists find themselves working in every kind of medicine-related practices. They help general practitioners, surgeons and blood drives, and take part in almost every other bracket of medical work. They may work in clinical laboratories, community health centers, hospitals, nursing homes, doctors’ offices, blood donation centers and other healthcare facilities. Thus, phlebotomists may be supervised by clinical laboratory technologists or other medical practitioners.
As a phlebotomist, you need fine motor skills to insert a needle into a vein well. You also must be well organized, with good attention to detail.
What are the Academic Requirements?
To become a phlebotomist in Vermont, you first need to finish high school, and then complete a training program. This training program will involve study in:
• Human anatomy
• Procedures for blood collection
• Proper blood sample storage and handling
• Safety precautions for blood handling
But, it is also possible to become a phlebotomist through hands-on training at the workplace. The American Society for Clinical Pathology will allow a phlebotomist to test for certification after a full year of practice in an accredited laboratory.
There are more than 200 accredited training programs for phlebotomy. These are available at community colleges and vocational schools nationwide. These vary in length and levels: a phlebotomy certificate may take 6 months to 1 year; an associate degree may take 1-2 years; and a bachelor’s degree may take 3-4 years.
Is a Phlebotomy Certification Compulsory?
Phlebotomy certification is not compulsory in Vermont. Yet, employers prefer candidates who hold certification from an accredited organization. This means that certified phlebotomists have greater chances of landing jobs, and stand to be paid more than non-certified ones.
To take a certification exam, you must complete phlebotomy training from an accredited training institution. Or, you must have amassed at least 1,040 hours of work experience as a phlebotomy technician within the past three years.
Some of the recognized certification agencies include:
• American Society of Clinical Pathologists (ASCP)
• National Healthcareer Association (NHA)
• National Center for Competency Testing (NCCT)
• American Medical Technologists (AMT)
On passing the certification exam, a license will be issued.
Is Continuing Phlebotomy Education Necessary?
To remain a licensed phlebotomist, you must provide evidence of completing continuing education coursework. Otherwise, your license may be revoked. Most of the time, continued education is paid for by your employer so it needs not to be a hassle.
The ASCP, in a 2011 survey, found that certification increased a phlebotomist’s pay by up to 10 percent. Besides, it was found that certification is also an aid to promotion in career.
Benefits of Further Training
Many institutions offer subsidies for individuals who wish to upgrade their skills. You need to take advantage of this. If you train in related fields such as blood banking, cytotechnology or histotechnology, you stand more chance of being employed and can earn higher income as a result.
What is the Average Phlebotomist Income?
The ASCP, in its 2010 survey, found the average pay per hour for a phlebotomist is $13.50, which translates to 28,080 per year. In contrast, those who delved into supervisory positions earned an average of $20.09 per hour, which translates to $41,800 per year.
What are the Legal, Ethical and Professional Considerations?
As a phlebotomist, you are required to know the principles of liability in the practice of phlebotomy. You also need to perform your duties in a professional, ethical and legal manner, and adhere to criminal justice and civil rights acts. Again, you are required to show professionalism in conduct and appearance while performing your duties.
Phlebotomy is fast gaining popularity and is high paying, yet its requirements are few and easy to meet. If you have completed high school, enroll in a phlebotomy training program and you will be on your way to success.