Read about what makes up the day for someone who takes blood for a living
You may have heard the term “phlebotomist” but are not sure how someone in this profession spends their day. After reading this article, you should have a better idea. A phlebotomist is technician who works in a clinical laboratory and has received specific training to obtain blood samples from patients. It’s an interesting combination of clinical work (with patients) and technical skills.
Here’s an overview of what is involved in this important job:
Where you work
Phlebotomists can work in a number of settings: at a hospital, urgent care center, diagnostic laboratory, or clinic; through a mobile service; or providing in-home care.
What the shifts are like
You can find positions that are either part time or full time—or even on call. Like nurses, phlebotomy technicians can work day shifts (which start early in the morning) or alternate day and night shifts with a day or two off in between. Phlebotomists who work at diagnostic centers might have more regular daytime hours, and not be required to handle night shifts.
Getting your day started
The early shifts help you to prepare for the day ahead. Many phlebotomists have a portable cart with all of the supplies they’ll need to do different kinds of blood draws. You’ll usually know in advance the names of the patients whose blood you’ll be taking. Some patients will have fasted since the night before. Part of your responsibility will be to ensure that all vials of blood are marked correctly with the patient’s identifying information.
Checking with other medical or nursing staff
Phlebotomy technicians communicate in an ongoing way with nurses and other medical staff throughout their shift to find out if there’s any new information or anything has changed that could affect the blood draws.
Being considerate of patients
If you work in a hospital, you may have to wake up a patient to take their blood. It’s important to do this in a calm, kind, and respectful manner. In addition, you may find that some patients are nervous or squeamish about having their blood drawn. You may need to help calm your patients in these cases.
Getting samples from patients
Phlebotomists are trained to follow strict protocols for safety and sterility. They use a range of supplies, including needles, syringes, collection tubes, and tourniquets, and must always dispose of needles properly. With many patients, you’ll have no problem getting a sample quickly and efficiently. This could include people young and old, people recovering from surgery, expectant moms, and others. Some have less accessible veins and you may need to ask a nurse for help.
Heading to the lab
After making a series of blood collections, the samples go to the lab, where there is a centrifuge that separates the plasma from the blood. Here vials are organized according to what kind of test is required.
Packing up for the day
After the work collecting and delivering specimens is finished, you would clean up the cart and prepare it for the next day or next shift. Keeping everything organized and tidy is an essential aspect of the job,
Think you might be interested in this line of work? It’s a great job for people who are good with details, enjoy dealing with people, and want to make a difference. Phlebotomy training is included in several of Harris Casel's Medical Career Programs.
This post is part of the Harris Casel Institute’s weekly blog. We offer a range of professional training programs in the healthcare field at our campus in Melbourne, FL. Learn more by reaching out to us today!