Phlebotomists work in the healthcare industry to draw blood from patients in order for the laboratory to test for health issues such as high cholesterol or a variety of diseases.
What is a Phlebotomist’s Job Description?
Many phlebotomists find the job rewarding because of the constant patient interaction and the variety of job duties such as:
Collecting blood samples are the main aspect of the job, however, depending on a physician’s orders, phlebotomists may also perform a saliva swap or obtain a urine sample.
It’s important for phlebotomists to explain the blood drawing process to patients as not all are comfortable with the simple procedure. This makes it necessary for phlebotomists to keep patients calm and to distract them from the sight of blood and the needle.
Maintaining Samples and Supplies
Phlebotomists must follow certain Occupational Safety and Health Administration standards for both drawing and storing specimens. They must wear gloves, mask, and a gown when transporting certain specimens to the laboratory, and dispose of needles immediately after use. Depending on the employer, phlebotomists may also have to keep track of inventory and order supplies as needed.
Phlebotomists are often responsible for a range of clerical duties such as answering the phone and scheduling patient appointments. Some employers may also require typing letters and sending emails.
Those who work in this field will prepare written reports that document each patient’s status, type of draw, and results.
Job Description for a Managerial Position
Phlebotomists who work in a managerial position generally schedule employees, maintain workflow, and perform employee reviews.
Phlebotomists most often work in clinics, hospitals, and laboratories.
Clinics – Those who work in clinics will collect specimens, stock supplies, maintain equipment, and handle clerical duties.
Hospitals – Phlebotomists who work in hospitals tend to have more than one role and are often cross-trained as EKG technicians or medical assistants.
Laboratories – When working in a laboratory, phlebotomists are responsible for testing specimens and making a diagnosis. It’s necessary that they keep a high level of documentation so there are no mix-ups.
Generally, phlebotomists earn a certificate by completing an accredited training program at a community college or technical school, though some decide to earn an associate or bachelor’s degree. The curriculum includes Anatomy and Physiology which prepares students for drawing blood and for any type of complications that may occur. Students also learn how to assemble, adjust, and maintain laboratory equipment that allows them to perform any collection and culturing duties.
There are only a couple states that require certification, such as California. However, those who work in states where it’s optional should earn certification to have better job prospects and earn higher wages. There are several phlebotomy organizations within the United States that offer certification, though not all are accepted by every state.
The organizations are: The American Society for Clinical Pathology, the American Society of Phlebotomy Technicians, the American Medical Technologist, the National Healthcareer Association, the National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences, the National Phlebotomy Association, the American Society for Clinical Laboratory Science, and the American Certification Agency.
Job Outlook and Salary
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment of phlebotomists will grow around twenty-seven percent during the decade of 2012 and 2022. This is faster than the average for all other occupations, and hospitals, blood donor centers, and diagnostic labs are all expected to need phlebotomists to collect blood samples. The median annual salary of phlebotomists was $29,730 in 2012.
To learn more about this rewarding healthcare career or to find an accredited training program that’s right for you, please contact us.