Become a Phlebotomist

Should You Train to Become a Phlebotomy Technician?

phlebotomist drawing bloodRight out of the gate, not many people probably know what a phlebotomy tech or phlebotomist is. The short answer is a health care professional who draws blood from patients. We will go into more depth in this article. So of course anyone who selects this profession must be OK around blood and needles. And if you are not comfortable in hospitals or other medical facilities, well this profession may not be right for you. And then there are the patients. Phlebotomy Technicians often work around nervous people who hate needles or having their blood drawn. And because many medical facilities are open around the clock, you may be required to work weekends, nights and, you guessed it even on holidays. But if you can handle the needles and blood, and if you enjoy interacting with people and are compassionate and very patient, this may be the perfect job for you.  You can decide on a certification program, which at generally under a year to complete is the fastest route to becoming a phlebotomist.  Or you can choose a more advanced two or four year degree program.

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What is a Phlebotomist?

The basic job description for phlebotomists, or phlebotomy technicians, and primary job focus is to draw blood from patients.  Once the sample is collected, this healthcare professional transports it to the hospital lab or to an outside facility so that it can be analyzed for such things as disease and infections.  They can be called upon to collect samples from patients of all ages, from babies to the elderly.  They can work in all types of medical facilities, such as hospitals, clinics or nursing homes.  And depending on their base of practice, they may specialize in drawing blood from a specific type of patient.  For example, if working in a maternity ward they would regularly draw blood from mothers and their newborns.  If working in a nursing home, their duties would be limited to drawing blood from the senior patients.   In a hospital environment a phlebotomist would meet new people on a daily basis and service a wide range of patients.

What does a Phlebotomist Do?

As mentioned, a phlebotomist’s primary job focus is collecting blood samples.  They must do so with the utmost level of expertise and care due to the potential of being exposed to blood borne diseases or contaminants.   But their duties are a little more involved than just that single function.  Prior to collection, the phlebotomist must make sure that all instruments used are sterile and are single use only.  Once the sample is collected,   it must be labeled properly with patient information.  The proper paperwork must be completed to track the sample from collection through the lab screening process.  The sample is then delivered to the lab facility, either within the hospital where the patient is being treated or to an outside laboratory.   Some phlebotomists working within a lab have the added responsibility of ensuring that samples are analyzed properly by enforcing strict quality control.  And finally, in certain instances they may be required to train other phlebotomists to collect samples and properly follow up with the lab testing process.

Taking Phlebotomy Classes Online

First of all, you cannot receive your total training to be a phlebotomist online.  Much of the training is clinical or practical in nature and must take place either on campus or in an approved hospital environment.  But since the rest of the non-clinical course work can be accessed online, this option may be more convenient for some students.  And it can be a big advantage for those who are working or have family or other obligations to juggle as well.  Plus online schools are sometimes less expensive than traditional options.  Even ancillary expenses, such as commuting and text books can be reduced to some extent.  Between the extensive offline clinical training and the online courses, everything needed to achieve competency is provided.  But one warning, not all online schools are accredited, which is very important for certification and job placement.  So be sure to verify that any online training you are considering is accredited by one of the national phlebotomy accrediting agencies.  If you are disciplined and motivated enough to dedicate yourself to this style of learning, then obtaining your training online in conjunction with your practical training may be the right choice for you.

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Phlebotomy (from the Greek words phleba-, meaning "vein", and -tomy, meaning "to make an incision of") is the process of making an incision in a vein with a needle. The procedure itself is known as a venipuncture. A person who performs phlebotomy is called a "phlebotomist", although doctors, nurses, medical laboratory scientists and others do portions of phlebotomy procedures in many countries.[1]

Phlebotomists are people trained to draw blood from a patient (mostly from veins) for clinical or medical testing, transfusions, donations, or research. Phlebotomists collect blood primarily by performing venipunctures (or, for collection of minute quantities of blood, finger sticks).[2] Blood may be collected from infants by means of a heel stick. The duties of a phlebotomist may include properly identifying the patient, interpreting the tests requested on the requisition, drawing blood into the correct tubes with the proper additives, accurately explaining the procedure to the patients, preparing patients accordingly, practising the required forms of asepsis, practising standard and universal precautions, performing the skin/vein puncture, withdrawing blood into containers or tubes, restoring hemostasis of the puncture site, instructing patients on post-puncture care, ordering tests per the doctor's requisition, affixing tubes with electronically printed labels, and delivering specimens to a laboratory.