From hospitals to private laboratories and clinics, phlebotomists can be found in a number of medical facilities. Phlebotomists are highly trained professionals who draw blood from patients. They see patients ranging from newborn babies to elderly. Working as a phlebotomist is an extremely fun and rewarding career.
A phlebotomist’s primary responsibilities are drawing blood from patients, properly labeling the blood vials, and delivering them to the laboratory for testing. In addition, phlebotomists are expected to practices proper patient identification procedures. The most important aspect of their job lies with the skill involved with selecting the proper vein and the insertion of the needle by determining the best method for drawing blood for each specific patient. In some states, they are required to centrifuge collected blood samples per state guidelines. Furthermore, they must be capable of working with a large variety of patients of differing age and health status. This requires being friendly and sympathetic to all patients and family members they may come in contact with.
The hazardous nature of dealing with blood also means phlebotomists must educate themselves on and strictly adhere to all laboratory safety procedures. These procedures are not only mandated by the phlebotomist’s employer, but also the Occupational Safety and Health Administration. The phlebotomist’s lab or station must be meticulously cleaned and sanitized after every patient to prevent the spread of infectious diseases.
The average phlebotomist may encounter thirty or more patients in a single day. This requires excellent dexterity and the ability to remain calm under pressure. Facing a multitude of patients in a fast paced environment requires the ability to maintain consistent focus to ensure accurate drawing and labeling to prevent cross contamination of samples.
Cross-contamination occurs when two or more blood samples interact unintentionally with each other. This can be disastrous for patients and the lab. At best, these types of errors mean automatically having to retest all affected samples. At worst, they lead to health conditions being misdiagnosed in patients. A phlebotomist must practice extreme caution with all samples from the initial draw to final delivery of the samples to the testing laboratory. In the event that there is an issue, they must be able to properly communicate and interact with patients to create a comfortable and stress free experience.
The most successful phlebotomists have a comprehensive knowledge of human anatomy combined with a pleasant disposition that enables them to counsel and relax patients during the procedure. They not only are able to locate the three veins that are the most preferred phlebotomy sites, but have also studied basic anatomy and physiology to enable them to quickly recommend other procedures in the event that the preferred sites are unavailable or difficult to obtain a sample from. Combining this knowledge with the ability to reduce a patient’s anxiety and comfort attending family members is crucial to a long and prosperous career in phlebotomy.
The average workday of a phlebotomist varies greatly according to their place of employment. However, most phlebotomists can expect to work sometime between the hours of 7am to 7pm during the week and various hours on the weekend. Hospitals and 24 hour clinics may require a phlebotomist to work the night shift.
For more information on the rewarding field of phlebotomy or to begin the journey towards your new career, contact us today. Whether you prefer to attend class online or in person, our committed staff is committed to helping you find a school perfectly suited to your particular needs and our list of state by state guidelines ensures you are always working towards the proper certification requirements for your prospective workplace.