The phlebotomist's work consists of drawing blood from patients in order to test it, as well as for donations; in a hospital setting, a phlebotomist may perform transfusions as a part of their duties. Phlebotomists do not analyze the blood they draw nor do they administer injections. Since they may be called upon to explain the blood-drawing procedure to their patients, the job requires a phlebotomist to possess good interpersonal skills. Phlebotomists should be prepared to work in stressful, high-pressure conditions. They may work in various types of medical facilities including hospitals, doctors’ offices or in independent laboratories. Their patients can range in age from infants to senior citizens.
Working as a Phlebotomist in Massachussetts
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, there are 2,800 phlebotomists working in the state of Massachusetts and the median average wage for this job is $36,000. While there is presently no law that requires phlebotomy certification in Massachusetts, it is still a good idea for an individual to get properly trained and certified. A bill requiring such licensing has been introduced and should licensure become a requirement, certification will be an important factor in the phlebotomist's ability to find work.
What Phlebotomists Do
The most common method of drawing blood is called "venipuncture." Venipuncture involves using a needle to find the patient's vein in order to collect blood. This is one of the main skills of the phlebotomist.• Correctly identify a patient before drawing blood
• Draw the correct amount of blood using venipuncture and other techniques
• Correctly label the specimens they collect
• Effectively communicate with patients as well as with their coworkers
• Use a computer to keep phlebotomy-related records
• Adhere to OSHA regulations
Phlebotomists must be able to understand medical terminology such as instructions from a doctor on how much blood to draw and the type of vial they must use. Most phlebotomy courses will offer students the option of taking a national examination to become certified. Some phlebotomy programs include training on how to use an EKG machine.
Phlebotomy Training in Massachusetts
A phlebotomy training course will include both classroom and clinical sessions. The clinical part of the course will include training on how to draw blood using mannequins, fellow students or actual patients. There are many training programs open to those who wish to become phlebotomists. Prerequisites for a Massachusetts phlebotomy course are typically:• That they be at least 18 years old
• A diploma from a high school or a GED
• A clean background record
• Good English speaking skills
• The ability to write at an 8th grade level
• The ability to pass a health exam
• An understanding of basic computer applications
A typical phlebotomy training course will consist of topics such as:
• Anatomy related to the body's circulatory system
• Patient safety and confidentiality regarding patient information
• Safety procedures related to blood borne pathogens
• Venipuncture and the complications that may arise from the procedure
• Control of infection
• Interaction with patients
• How to process specimens
In addition to providing valuable training for phlebotomists, a phlebotomy training course is helpful for those who are already in other medical professions; for example, phlebotomy is a requirement for nurses and nursing aides.
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