What Is A Phlebotomist And What Are Their Duties?A phlebotomist draws and preps blood for medical testing, blood transfusions, and donation. They are professionals at gathering blood by venipuncture and finger pricks. Many phlebotomists are employed in clinics, hospitals, diagnostic labs, outpatient care offices, and blood donation centers. Here are a few additonal responsibilities of phlebotomists:
- Prepare patients for drawing blood
- Help anxious patients to calm down through blood withdrawals
- Talk with patients about the withdrawal or transfusion process
- Follow orders of supervising physicians
- Verify patient identification and ensure correct labels are places on blood vials
- Help patients who have negative reactions after blood withdrawals or a transfusion
- Label and follow up with blood vials
How Is Phlebotomy Done?Blood is drawn from a vein that's in the inner arm or the back of the hand. The needle injection point is sterilized with an antiseptic and a plastic band is put around the arm to help maintain the blood and keep the veins visible. It’s the phlebotomists job is to probe for veins to choose the right one. Once it's found, the tech injects the needle into the vein and takes off the elastic band. After the blood is taken, the needle is removed from the the vein. As procedure, the patient's pulse and blood pressure may be watched during the process. On the contrary, tiny amounts of blood are pulled through finger pricks. The amount of blood that’s drawn depends on the reason for the phlebotomy procedure. People that give blood usually provide 500ML of blood per session.—but, the amount that’s take varies per person. Vast amounts of blood are extracted during therapeutic phlebotomy blood exams and donations.
What You'll Learn In A Phlebotomy ProgramIf you don't know what to expect from phlebotomy training, here is are some of the standard courses:
Theory of Phlebotomy ClassThis class is a required phlebotomy course which explains the basic phlebotomy procedures for adults and kids. Aspiring phlebotomists learn how to carefully extract blood using venipuncture and capillary puncture techniques for children and adults— also, finger or heel sticks for little children and infants. Furthermore, none blood-related specimen collection techniques are typically part of the program. Phlebotomist students are tauhg to fix infection control, and they receive steps on how to prepare blood at the injection site. Additionally, students learn know how to pick the right tools, deal with transport, and manage gatheredsamples. Students also learn medical and legal ethics in relation to phlebotomy.
Medical Terminology CoursePhlebotomists are taught about medical terms to better communicate with doctors and other phlebotomists about specimens—which minimizes mistakes. The program includes information on root words, prefixes, and suffixes generally used in the medical field. Furthermore, the students learn how to correctly spell and pronounce certain medical terminology. Majority of them finish this course prior to starting the phlebotomy class.
Anatomy and Physiology ClassIn this class, aspiring phlebotomists are taught about body parts, systems, and their functions. Plus, they learn physiology in anatomy, the cardiovascular, muscle-skeletal, circulatory, and nervous systems. This course is typically finished prior to students enrolling in the clinical portion of the class.
Phlebotomy PracticumPracticum students expirement with collecting blood from specimens and how to deal with other duties of the job. They practive on adult and child-like simulated arms and the other students to practice prior to extracting blood in a clinical job. The practicum classes are either on campus or in an off-site lab. Additionally, phlebotomy practicum is a required class that is typically completed after a theory course or other mandatory programs, such as physiology, anatomy, and medical terminology.
The Primary Skills Of A PhlebotomistIt's easy to take a course to learn about phlebotomy, but you need to more in order to succeed on the job. Furthermore, there are several fundamental traits that will help you excel further in your position as a phlebotomist. Here are a few skills that you will need: Good Hand-Eye Coordination Having excellent hand-eye coordination is vital when extracting blood from patients and donots. It's also essnetial to pay attention and pull the blood properly the first time. If done incorrectly, the patient may become irritated, and it can cause them pain at the collection site. Plus, you can also hurt yourself if you aren't careful when pulling blood. It's very dangerous to stick yourself with a needle that was used on a patient. With that said, hand-eye coordination is essential for professional phlebotomy techniques. Empathy If you are comfortable around needles, that doesn't mean that everyone is. Therefore, a phlebotomist should be compassionate and patient when handling scared patients. You have to be able to give a nice word or make them feel calm in order to make things go easier. Having a caring heart will make your job a lot less frustrating. On the contrary, if you're mean to patients, a bad rep will follow you. Detailed And Organized During the extraction process—and afterward—it’s essential to follow procedures make sure there is no confusion with the blood samples. It's mandatory to verify the patients, follow accurate venipuncture steps, and put the right labels on vials. Any small mistake can lead to a major issue.
PatientIt’s difficult working in the health industry, especially when you have to deal with patients. Some of the people you come in contact with might not be friendly, which makes it challenging to do your job. However, you should exhibit patience and continue to be kind. Athough it’s easy to get offended, your duty is to make sure every patient feels comfortable—no matter how they treat you.
Team OrientedPhlebotomists work alongside other health professionals to help patients. It’s important that you effectively communicate with everyone in the office regarding lab results and other job functions. Every detail of what’s done between you and your coworkers inevitably affect the patients.
Specific Places Where Phlebotomists Can WorkOnce you get your certification, you might not know where to start. There are common workplace settings that you you are familiar, and others not so much. Here are a few other options:
The American Red CrossThere are tons of facilities around that are non-medical and need phlebotomists—the most popular of those is the Red Cross. They hire phlebotomists for full and part-time gigs, and even volunteer positions. Generally, the workers go to various blood drives and areas that have been damaged by disaster.
Nursing HomesYou may not have thought of this option, but nursing homes are a good choice. Older adults tend to need blood tests regularly and large nursing home or assisted living facilities have phlebotomists on site. Unlike most medical settings, you won’t see many patients each day. Furthermore, most nursing facilities don’t have a lab on site, so blood samples are labeled and send to the patient’s doctors office.
Mobile PhlebotomyIf you want more of a freelance position, working as a traveling phlebotomist is a good option. Some medical facilities hire phlebotomitsts o to work on-call, and they will go to various locations. You might go to the VA hospital one day and or a blood drive the next. Not to mention, some work is done on wheels. There are mobile labs that go to different spots and give free or low-cost shots and lab work.
Urgent CareEmergency clinics are another great option for people who want to work various shifts. Most urgent care facilities are open for 24 hours a day and need staff available at all times. These offices are available for people who have ailments but don’t necessarily need to go to the emergency room. Getting a blood test is one of the quickest ways to find out what’s wrong with a patient.
Final Thoughts On Phlebotomy TrainingHopefully, this information gives you the insight you need about becoming a phlebotomist. It’s one of those careers that allows you to help others and feel good about yourself. Now that you know more about it, do you feel like it’s right for you?
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