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Do you know what phlebotomy is? The word “phlebotomy” is Greek in origin, with “phlebo-” meaning “pertaining to the blood vessel” and “-tomy” meaning “to make an incision.” If you put it all together, it means making an incision in a vein with a needle. In simpler terms, phlebotomy is the process of drawing blood.
Phlebotomists are trained professionals who draw blood from patients. The blood may be used for blood tests, blood donations, blood transfusions, or medical research. How do phlebotomists do it? What does their job entail? What are the rewards of being a phlebotomist? Read on to find out more about this important career.
What phlebotomists do all day
The job of a phlebotomist is critical to our healthcare system. Collecting blood samples for blood tests is the first step in diagnosing many illnesses and disorders. Phlebotomists must follow specific steps and rules in order to draw blood correctly and safely. If you were to become a phlebotomist, you would see a steady schedule of patients. Here is a typical process that you would follow with each patient.
- Be sure your station has adequate supplies for the day, including an assortment of needles, gauze, syringes, blood collection tubes, tourniquets, antiseptic, bandages/tape, and a sharps disposal container.
- Greet your patient.
- Confirm the identity of your patient. Make sure it matches the labels and put the labels on the tubes.
- Enter patient information into database.
- Confirm the type and number of tubes you will need.
- Talk with the patient about what to expect.
- Follow all hand-washing and glove protocols as required by your employer.
- Select the appropriate vein, according to the patient’s characteristics, and clean the site.
- Follow the proper procedure for the blood draw, placing a gauze pad over the site when finished.
- Dispose of needles and gloves according to safety protocols.
- Place the blood collection tube in the appropriate place.
- Allow the patient to leave, and then clean the area for the next patient.
Where do phlebotomists work? Trained phlebotomists can work in a variety of locations, such as hospitals, laboratories, blood donor centers, and doctors’ offices. Because many of the jobs are in 24-hour facilities, you may sometimes have to work weekends or night shifts.
How to become a phlebotomist
Becoming a phlebotomist requires training. Most phlebotomy training programs can be completed in just a few months’ time. You will need to learn the proper techniques and safety protocols for drawing blood, as well as other topics including anatomy and physiology, patient confidentiality, infection control, and communication skills.
The rewards of being a phlebotomist
People choose to become phlebotomists for many reasons. Some like the fact that you can be trained and in the workforce in a short period of time. Others enjoy being a part of the healthcare system and helping patients with an important part of their healthcare. Some people enjoy the orderly step-by-step nature of the blood drawing procedure. And still others like the opportunity to meet with a variety of patients throughout the day.
If you are interested in becoming a phlebotomy technician, you can read more about this career in 5 Things to Know About Becoming a Phlebotomist. Next you can search for a training program in your area. Be sure to look at several schools, so that you can choose the school that is best for you. Also make sure that the school is accredited and that it has a strong reputation in your region. If you begin now, you could be starting your new career in less than 6 months!
The Harris Casel Institute, located in Melbourne, Florida, provides a Phlebotomist/EKG training program. For more information, contact us online.