Venipuncture Definition

The commonly accepted venipuncture definition is a procedure for enabling intravenous access for blood sampling or intravenous therapy. The analysis of blood is one of the most vital diagnostic tools available in healthcare. The data obtained from this procedure is highly dependable for interpretation of innumerable clinical signs and symptoms. It is one of the most routinely performed procedures, through which diseases are analyzed under a microscope. This helps to improve health and longevity by acting as a preventative measure.

Venipuncture Definition

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In venipuncture, the vein is punctured to draw a sample of blood. The most common area for drawing blood is the superficial vein of your forearm. However, phlebotomists or medical practitioners can draw blood from other places if needed. Medical laboratory scientists, phlebotomists, paramedics, dialysis technicians, medical practitioners and other nursing staff in healthcare perform this procedure. Medical practitioners need to follow the procedures and steps as per the definition of venipuncture.

Common Sites of Drawing Blood

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The most common venipuncture site is at the bend of the elbow, or the Antecubital Fossa. The Median Cubital Vein is close to the surface positioned within the Cubital Fossa. It is an ideal place for venipuncture as there are no nearby large nerves. Other veins in this area include the Cephalic Vein and Basilic Vein.

In some cases, a medical practitioner or phlebotomist might choose another site for drawing blood. That occurs when the technician is not comfortable with the three veins present in the bend of your elbow. Your healthcare professional might also choose another vein if the blood is not flowing properly through the Antecubital Fossa area. Other common sites include the dorsal vein in the hand or any vein in your feet. However, the veins in the feet are chosen only as a last resort.

Different Types of Venipuncture

Venipuncture definition states it is the process of getting intravenous access to draw blood. Hence, venipuncture also includes the process of starting an intravenous (IV) line. The venipuncture procedure is also for administering medication, nutritional therapies, and chemotherapy.

Procedure

Venipuncture requires detailed knowledge and skills  to perform successfully and painlessly. It is a complex function that needs specific equipment, care, and caution.

Equipment Required

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The equipment varies with the type and purpose of venipuncture performed. However, some of the most commonly used items for this procedure are:

  •     Surgical Gloves
  •     Wipes/Swabs
  •     Tourniquet
  •     Collection tubes
  •     Needles
  •     Bandages
  •     Disposal Unit
  •     Gauze

Prepping for a Successful Venipuncture

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Step 1: Assemble Equipment

The medical professional should assemble all the equipment neatly on a tray. Make sure that the blood sample goes in for correct testing.

STEP 2: PATIENT PREPPING

In this step, a healthcare professional will make sure that the patient is comfortable and calm. Certain guidelines need to be followed when you meet the patient. The phlebotomist will ask the name and identity of the patient clearly and also explain the purpose for venipuncture to the patient. Allergies of any kind should be identified and labeled properly. Health practitioners should take precautions in case the patient suffers from any sort of allergies. Other information such as complications during a prior venipuncture, dietary habits, fasting restrictions, and current medical treatment also obtained.

STEP 3: VEIN DETECTION

Extend the patient’s arm and place it on a table or any flat surface to perform the procedure only after seeking verbal consent. The healthcare professional will probe gently in the area inside of the elbow to search for a vein. There is a maximum risk when using the Basilic vein, as doing so increases the risk of damaging an artery or a nerve.

The Basilic vein is also the most painful to draw from the three major veins within the Cubital Fossa. The Median Cubital Vein is the ideal vein to draw blood from as it is good-sized and does not have proximity to other arteries and nerves. A tourniquet is tied right above the vein site at a distance of 3–4 inches. This makes the vein pop up and become more visible.

STEP 4: HAND PREPPING

While the tourniquet does its job, the healthcare professional preps his/ her hands. They may either go and wash before donning surgical gloves or simply cleanse with an alcohol rub. This step can also be performed before tying the tourniquet. However, it is critical to use a fresh pair of surgical gloves every time to prevent contamination and infection.

STEP 5: SITE DISINFECTION

The venipuncture area needs to be disinfected to prevent contamination. Alcohol is the best solution for disinfecting as it does not affect lab results compared to povidone-iodine. A 70% alcohol swab should be used to cleanse the site, wiped in a circular motion. The cleansing begins from the exact venipuncture point and moves outwards to at least 2–3 cm.

Procedure to Draw Blood

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Health professionals can perform venipuncture only after prepping the site. The medical practitioner will place a thumb under the vein to anchor it. Care is maintained to prevent touching the exact site of venipuncture. The patient is requested to curl their fingers into a fist. The way to insert a needle into a vein lumen is quickly and at an angle between 15 to 30 degrees by stretching the skin taut. Healthcare professionals are instructed not to cause excessive trauma by probing. The tourniquet is released once blood is collected. If multiple tubes are being collected, then the tourniquet is released before filling the last tube. It is critically necessary to release the tourniquet before removing the needle.

The needle should be removed in a single swift motion to prevent additional pain. Pressure with gauze is applied as soon as the needle is withdrawn to prevent any blood loss and hematoma. All tubes should be properly labeled and sent to the laboratory for testing. Any specific laboratory requirements are complete at this time. For instance, some laboratories require the test tube to be inverted multiple times.

A very important step in venipuncture is the destruction of needles and other items that touched blood. Needles are preferably discarded in a "Sharps" container while items that did not touch blood are thrown with general waste. The venipuncture site is inspected to check for bleeding or any other complications.

Precautions

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Some areas should not be chosen as a venipuncture site. These include areas where there are extensive scars or burn injuries. The arm on the side where a mastectomy has been performed, and edematous extremities should also be avoided. Accumulated tissue fluids in edematous extremities can alter test results.

It is not advisable to perform venipuncture on the arm where there is already an IV. The other arm should be used for drawing blood in such a situation. However, if there is no other way, then you should turn the IV off for at least 2 minutes and use another vein for drawing blood. An existing IV line might make it easier to draw blood as compared to venipuncture. First, flush the IV line thoroughly. Draw blood slowly to avoid hemolysis. Blood should also not be drawn from the arm containing a cannula, heparin lock or fistula.

Purpose

Venipuncture definition states a variety of benefits of this procedure. It is among the most routinely performed invasive procedures. It is also among the most important diagnostic tools available to healthcare professionals. Here are the common uses of venipuncture.

Diagnostics

The first step to identifying any illness or sickness is to study a patient’s blood sample under the microscope. As per venipuncture definition, blood is obtained from the veins for laboratory testing to check for pathogens and other undesirables.

Monitoring

There area number of blood components that can cause severe damage to the body if present in inadequate or excess quantities. Real-time monitoring of blood components can be carried out by drawing blood and testing it.

Administration

Venipuncture definition states that it can be used to administer intravenous therapies. This includes administering treatments such as chemotherapy and medications. It can also be used to provide nutrition to the body through intravenous therapies.

Removal

The major purpose of this procedure as per the venipuncture definition is to take a blood sample from the body. It can either be done for testing purposes or to regulate blood levels in the body. For instance, red blood cells require removal when iron and erythrocytes are in excess.

Blood Storage

Venipuncture is useful for blood collection. For instance, blood transfusion begins with the procedure of collecting blood through a venipuncture.

Conclusion

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Venipuncture definition states it is the procedure of collecting blood by getting intravenous access. There are several factors that need to be considered when taking blood. Patient consideration is of primary importance. Venipuncture procedure requires specific equipment, knowledge, and skill to perform successfully. Venipuncture can facilitate holistic and timely treatment.

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CEUs | Important for Phlebotomists and Patients

Phlebotomists are responsible for drawing blood from patients that is then later used to run a host of laboratory tests. These tests are used to determine any health issues the patient may have, gauge the condition of a known issue and help physicians devise a course of action in the best interest of the patient. Starting off a career in phlebotomy is rewarding, but it’s not enough to train just to get the job. You must also complete Continuing Education Units (CEUs), essential for keeping your position or advancing your career within the medical field.

So what are CEUs? This article highlights what they are, their importance as they relate to those working in phlebotomy jobs, how to partake in them and their benefits.

What Are CEUS?

CEUs refer to units of credit that equal a specific number of participation hours in an accredited program specifically designed to keep professionals up to date on new technology and techniques and freshened up on old standards of practice. They are applicable for professionals, including doctors, engineers, lawyers, phlebotomists, pest control applicators and many, many others. If you are a professional, then it could be paramount that you undertake a specified number of CEUs annually to keep your practice, licenses or certificates current. You should note that the annual number of CEU credits varies by profession and state, so be sure to do your research before registering to make sure you will receive enough that you clear the requirements.

Standardization

IACET logo

In 1968, the Department of Education commissioned a task force on continuing education and training, which later became the International Association for Continuing Education and Training. The IACET was responsible for developing CEUs and coming up with guidelines for continued education in certain professional fields until 2006, when the IACET became the ANSI Standard Developing Organization (SDO).

ANSI is the United States’ representative of the International Organization for Standardization, and it is tasked with strengthening the marketplace by ensuring health and safety standards are met for the benefit of consumers and to protect the environment.

IACET is the caretaker of CEUs and communicates standards that organizations should adopt in administering and creating programs that provide professionals with CEU opportunities. IACET has set the measure of one Continuing Education Unit to be 10 hours of participation in an organized CEU course of qualified instruction led by approved directors. CEU credits provide records of people who have completed at least one non-credit educational experience.

Who Awards CEUs?

CEU credits are awarded by organizations, companies, and educational institutions willing to meet IACET/ANSI standards established for specific industries.

Professional Requirements

Some professions demand the completion of a specific number of CEUs annually to ensure that working practitioners who come into contact with individuals or whose actions affect people and the environment are up-to-date with current practices.

Proof that you, as a professional, have completed the required number of CEU credits required is required for renewal or your license or certification. However, the number of CEU credits that you should complete to stay viable in your occupation vary by state and industry.

Importance of CEUs for Phlebotomists

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CEUs are vital for phlebotomists since they frequently come into contact with patients and need to practice safe methods to prevent infections with the patient and false lab results due to contaminated specimens. If you are a phlebotomist, then CEUs give you an opportunity to learn, network and meet other phlebotomists.

Once you have earned CEUs, you can renew your license and ensure you can continue to practice with no obstacles and the confidence that you are keeping yourself up on the necessary practices to keep patients safe. In addition, you will enjoy job opportunities, increased remuneration and more knowledge about your profession as it develops over time. These are the reasons why your education should never end.

Phlebotomists have the added advantage of seeing and knowing a lot regarding a clinic or hospital setting. Thy work with different people, including patients, nurses, laboratory technicians, doctors and specialists. By pursuing CEU credits, they can better this knowledge and gain more experience about interacting with people in their clinical environment. They also get to experience a little of laboratory culture, know how to use equipment safely and use medical terminologies among other aspects.

CEU credits can help phlebotomists decide what to pursue in advancing their careers, particularly when they have an interest in a certain field. By attending CEUs, they will obtain the much-needed inspiration to move ahead with their goals in the medical field. This implies they will have an opportunity to advance their careers. If they want to move up to a managerial position or even become a physician someday, they will need CEUs so it is great to get familiar with the process.

The CEU credits for phlebotomists typically depend on the individual’s goals. Whether you want to grow your career, salary or even pursue a different position in the medical field, CEUs are vital to start with in the process. The only dedication and input you need is time and money, and your career can be as advanced as you would like it to be.

How to Partake in Continuing Education

Continuing Education medical school

We recommend that you check with your initial school or program where you first trained as a phlebotomist to see if it also offers CEU programs and when. That way, when you go to renew your license/certification you will already know about the process. There is a variety of CEU credits available that can offer you various areas of expertise.

For instance, advanced phlebotomy is becoming a more popular option for CEU education among phlebotomists. It is essential as it incorporates different techniques when it comes to drawing blood. Besides, you will focus on more advanced laboratory studies, or some specific medical areas, including geriatrics or trauma. Therefore, if you are a phlebotomist and you are looking for an area of specialization, you should consider enrolling in a CEU program to get you started.

You should note that most of the continuing education courses are much shorter than the initial training. Sometimes, they may take only three days, but this depends on the training offered. Additional certifications, as you might expect, may take a little longer.  

Benefits of Earning CEU Credits

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There are plenty of reasons as to why you need to continue your education. It is not only a requirement, but it can also help you in a variety of ways. For instance, one can get a promotion in your job they desire without putting an extra effort. CEUs will offer you an opportunity to change your career.

Career Advancement

Some individuals are happy to take an eight-week course and become a phlebotomist technician and enjoy this career for the rest of their lives. While it is rewarding, you might be interested in career advancements. Most of the time you will work with various people, drawing blood on a daily basis, transferring it to the lab, and conduct basic lab procedures. However, if you take continued education, there is an opportunity for growth, including taking on a management role or becoming a specialist.

Specialists focus on one specific area, either patient services or collections. Either way, if you want a managerial position or want to become a specialist, additional certifications are required. It may take years of experience. These positions have more responsibilities, but also come with better pay.

Change in Career

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Many people use CEUs as an opportunity to start off a career in the medical field. Some careers you could shift to as a phlebotomist include medical lab technicians and nursing. For instance, if you want to obtain a nursing degree as you work as a phlebotomist, you can either take online courses or hybrid avenues. You will also need to gain a diploma from a nursing program, which may take two or four years.

Medical lab technician career is a perfect fit for phlebotomists who might want to pursue a CEU. This is because you already have experience working in a laboratory. In addition, becoming an MLT can also be essential since you will improve your salary and responsibility. You start off with an MLT training and can later get an associate degree. While MLT education is more expensive compared to phlebotomy, you will have an opportunity to advance your career.

Some doctors even start off as phlebotomist technicians, but the education requirements are far greater compared to laboratory technicians or nurses. Some hospitals can help you pay for your continuing education if you stay on board with them. Therefore, we recommend that you check with your employer to see if they offer any help to continue your education.

Conclusion

CEUs are conducted and provided by organizations, companies and educational institutions that are willing to meet IACET/ANSI standards established for specific industries. The number of credits that you will need depends on which state or industry you are in. CEUs are essential for phlebotomists to renew their credentials and keep up with the latest industry and technology trends. In addition, you will enjoy advancements in job opportunities, increased compensation and more knowledge about your field. By completing CEUs, you will have an opportunity for growth, including taking on a management role or becoming a specialist. Your destiny depends on your focus and willingness to work. The CEUs will help you get there.

Phlebotomy Training Online Guide

Phlebotomy technicians work in hospitals, physician offices and labs. They must interact with patients, explain procedures and draw blood for testing. Training involves classroom or online learning as well as hands-on practice.

Skills Needed

Technicians work with patients every day, so they must be able to interact well with people. A friendly and optimistic attitude will go a long way to help put patients at ease. It is important to be able to communicate well, listen to instructions, talk calmly and have a gentle touch.

What To Look For

When it comes to comparing online programs, there is no universal right or wrong answer or a program that will be better than all of the others. Students should first research the certification requirements in their individual state of residence. Some states may not require training while others do. After finding out the state requirements, look for phlebotomy programs online that meet those.

How To Get Started

After finding a few preferred programs, fill out applications for them. Some personal information will be required, and school guidance counselors are usually available to help. Some programs may be offered through hospitals or other health care facilities. Check all of the online education requirements to ensure they are met. For example, some programs may advise students to use computers with certain features or programs. If it is necessary to buy or download software or word-processing programs, make sure they are purchased or downloaded legally from reputable sources. Make sure the certification program also requires hands-on training or has mandatory lab credits. Hands-on training is essential for developing skills.

What To Expect

Online programs may allow students to read and turn in assignments at their own pace or with weekly deadlines. Students should plan ahead for allowing themselves time to study, and it is crucial to stay disciplined. When it comes to hands-on practice, students who feel nervous can help relieve their nerves by visiting the lab or facility beforehand to talk to the individual who will be in charge.