Online Phlebotomist Training & Education Resources
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Phlebotomist laws and requirements vary from state to state. Click your state to find more information on how to become a Phlebotomist
What Is a Phlebotomist?
Phlebotomists are technicians in the health profession that specialize in drawing blood from patients and preparing the samples for medical analysis. Most phlebotomists practice in doctors’ offices or hospital settings and work directly with patients.
Responsibilities and Duties
Phlebotomists perform a variety of tasks related to the process of drawing blood. The level of responsibility depends on the phlebotomist’s acquired training and experience.
Generally, the phlebotomist can expect to begin the procedure by gathering the medical materials necessary to draw blood, including tourniquets, needles, vials, alcohol swabs and bandages. Materials need to be arranged on an accessible work tray prior to the initiation of the blood draw for each individual patient to ensure an organized execution of the procedure.
At this point, patient identification must be verified to confirm that the blood is being drawn from the correct person and for the correct analysis. When preparing for blood draws, the phlebotomist must determine the most productive area on the patient for the puncture. It is not uncommon for patients to express anxiety or concern about needles or the sight of blood at this point, so the phlebotomist must be capable of reassuring and gaining the trust of the patient while performing tasks. Once the site has been chosen, the phlebotomist will swab the designated location and draw the blood, gathering the sample into a vial. Skill is vital for an effective blood draw. The technician needs to be able to assess the most productive point of entry to avoid missing or moving the vein if possible. This will help to avoid having to make a repeat puncture. Once the blood is collected, the puncture site must be bandaged and the vial labeled with required patient information. If necessary, continued reassurance for the patient’s anxiety may still need to be given.
Though blood draws are the primary responsibility, the phlebotomist will be expected to perform other related tasks. They may need to interview patients for intakes, take and record vital signs, draw blood via finger pricks among other things.
How to Become a Phlebotomist
Educational and certification requirements for becoming a phlebotomist vary from state to state. Regardless of the specific criteria, however, certification, a strong skills set and a hands-on education will indicate experience and expertise to a potential employer.
Accredited phlebotomy programs exist to provide the phlebotomy training and guidance to allow for certification. It is critical to research the program to ensure that the experience will include valuable learning material as well as the exposure to practice in a clinic or lab, which will be instrumental in turning education into expertise.
Opportunities for Phlebotomists
Choosing a career inp hlebotomy offers several benefits. The phlebotomist has the opportunity to interact work with a wide range of patients and health professionals. This creates strong social skills and the ability to be perceptive to patients’ needs. With experience and know-how, phlebotomists can expect to find job opportunities in hospitals, diagnostic labs, clinics and certain organizations, such as the American Red Cross.
Ultimately, becoming a phlebotomist can provide an initial background in the medical and health fields. The expectation is that job opportunities for the phlebotomist will increase in the coming years, making it a viable career choice for those interested. The starting salary is approximately $36,000 a year but can vary depending on education and experience. Aside from the specific phlebotomy training for drawing blood and other related skills, becoming a phlebotomist provides another valuable benefit: the option to further education and pursuing a wide range of careers in the health profession. Thus, this particular career choice, though not for the type afraid of blood and needles, prepares the person for a clinical setting and allows for the opportunity to be a part of the integral process of patient care and lab work.