Phlebotomy – From Quackery to a Science
Phlebotomy refers to the removal of blood from the body through puncture with a needle. The word comes from the Greek term, phlebo-, which translates to “a blood vessel.” Drawing blood is the method leading to analysis and reporting of conditions affecting the body.
What is Phlebotomy
The diagnosis of certain blood diseases or body inefficiencies depends upon the accuracy of a phlebotomist. Without consistent intake, certain vitamins and minerals can reach very low levels and need supplementation. Many unusual symptoms will dissipate upon the identification and treatment after a blood draw.
Phlebotomy is a necessary step in blood donation as well as the identification and treatment of some diseases or deficiencies. The amount of the blood draw varies widely and depends upon the reason for the testing. A high level of accuracy is one requirement of a practicing phlebotomist.
What They Did
The ancient Egyptians, Greeks and Romans were phlebotomy practitioners, although they did not use it for scientific purposes. It was a “cleansing” technique to rid the body of evil spirits or sicknesses. Draining blood was one way to bring health to the body and the tool of choice was the lancet.
“Bloodletting” came to the United States sometime during the 18th century. Draining one to four pints of blood from the patient was the norm and often this would lead to feelings of faintness. At times, this procedure was fatal, which caused the practice to fall from science to quackery.
How They Do It
Phlebotomy in the modern day is, once again, a science requiring formal education at a school that offers courses or a certificate in phlebotomy. Regulations allow these procedures to occur only in a hospital, a medical clinic or the office of a medical doctor. This is significantly different from the practices in place 2,500 years ago!
Back in the 5th century B.C. this procedure would require a trip to the barber shop where you might also get a haircut or a tooth extraction. With the common use of rudimentary tools and amateur talent, this procedure had its drawbacks. Today, a blood drawer uses sanitary equipment and modern procedures to ensure patient safety.
Training and Certification
It is necessary to find an accredited school with classes in the practice of phlebotomy in order to receive the certification to work in this field. Good training will make the student very employable as a practicing phlebotomist. This is a growing field and a wonderful job option for individuals around the globe.
Where you train for work in this arena is a major decision and begins with choosing an appropriate outcome such as:
• Certificate program
• Associate degree
• Bachelor degree
The quality and level of training differs with each program. Prior research with time helps in making a final decision, which influences placement on any salary scale. Recommendation of classroom learning for higher placement in the field of phlebotomy should be a serious part of any decision.
Traditional or Online Learning
It is possible to find online courses of study in the field of phlebotomy that are equal to study in a classroom. Both traditional and online classes are equally beneficial and subject to the student’s personal preference. Finding the right online program is more of a challenge than attending classes in traditional learning situations.
Those students with current employment can locate traditional classes held at night or on weekends. Completion of the program takes more time, but is a popular choice for the working student. One drawback to online classes is in the quality of equipment, which is lower and there is no physical training to accompany online studies.
Cost of Tuition
An important element to consider is the cost of the classes a student is considering in any effort to become a phlebotomist. Some schools are less expensive, but they still provide a high quality of education. Consider that cost, the offerings, the available equipment and the presence/absence of physical training when determining its compatibility with goals of the student.
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Salary Goals or Aspirations
Technically, all health professionals have some training in this field, but deeper insights into the practice of drawing blood go into the training and certification of a phlebotomist. The healthcare industry is growing and it needs the services of a phlebotomist with certification. An entry-level phlebotomist can expect to earn between $22,000 and $28,000 per year.
Workplace location is a determining factor for the level of salary a phlebotomist receives. Of course, the more experience a candidate offers is also a critical factor as those offering five or more years are able to earn more than $40,000 each year. The average salary of working phlebotomists in all workplace environments is approximately $32,000.