Phlebotomists Work Environment
In order to understand the work environment of the phlebotomist, you need to understand what you will do on the job. The prominent job of a phlebotomist is taking blood from someone. This could be for lab testing to determine the type of illness that a person might have or simply as a routine check of the blood for the cholesterol and blood sugar levels. When you start working in this field, you might see that you will help in conducting EKGs. This is a test that measures the heart rate of the patient. Although there are numerous technological advances in medicine, the phlebotomist is an essential part of the healthcare field as a machine usually can’t extract the blood from the patient’s veins.
You will work with others in a laboratory setting most of the day. While you are in the lab, you will examine blood samples to determine the blood count levels and other information that the doctor needs. Before you look at the blood, you have to take it from the patient. This is done by using a needle that is inserted in a vein. You should have a steady hand when doing this work because some people are sensitive to needles. If you are too forceful when inserting the needle, then you could damage the vein, causing a bruise on the arm. You will need to know how to take blood from areas other than the inner arm if the patient has veins that roll. This could be on the top of the hand, at the wrist or even on the neck.
Some phlebotomists won’t look at the blood samples after they are collected. They will only submit the samples to the lab, and a technician will perform the analysis. However, you will be responsible for entering the information in the computer or on the patient’s chart in most situations. You will also need to let the doctor know of the results of the blood sample. There are times when you might be asked to collect a urine specimen or a sputum sample.
An important thing to remember when working in this field is that you need to know how to properly handle biohazards. Treat every patient as if the person has something contagious. You need to know what to wear to protect the skin, eyes, mouth and nose. Medial terminology will be learned during the courses taken to become a phlebotomist. You also need to know how to communicate with the patient, especially if it’s a child who will often be afraid of needles.
There are several places where you can work in this field. The hospital is one of the most common areas, and it’s one of the places where you will see the most room for advancement. A doctor’s office is a good starting point after you complete the short coursework required. Most programs take less than two years to complete. Another option is to work in a dialysis facility. You will usually stay busy as the patients will require some form of blood removal.