Do you ever wonder who draws your blood at a blood bank, diagnostic center, or doctor’s office? Chances are it’s someone who is a trained phlebotomist. Phlebotomy is a specialized skill that focuses on the procedure and processes surrounding the collection of patient blood in a healthcare or donation setting.
What is a phlebotomist?
Phlebotomists are trained medical professionals who specialize in blood draws.
What does a phlebotomist do?
Phlebotomists are responsible for the blood draw process from start to finish – including the preparation, collection, and packaging of patient blood samples. They also handle administrative tasks related to blood draws, including updating patient records and providing results to physicians.
Prepare and maintain blood drawing equipment.
Phlebotomists must be familiar with the blood draw process, including the correct methods, tools, and techniques required to perform a blood draw.
Review/confirm patient information and blood draw type.
Phlebotomists work with different software to access patient medical records, confirm patient identity, and review the type of blood draw before the procedure.
Draw patient blood
When drawing a patient’s blood, a phlebotomist must know the correct way to draw blood from a patient. During this process, they may take time to talk with nervous patients, assuring them of the process and helping them remain calm.
Package and prepare blood samples for lab analysis
Once blood is collected, phlebotomists will label, sort, and package blood for transport or analysis in a lab. This includes physically marking samples and updating computer records.
Maintain a clean workstation and properly dispose of blood draw materials.
After completing a blood draw, the phlebotomist must make sure to properly clean their station, dispose of any medical waste, and ensure proper medical hygiene.
Where do phlebotomists work?
Phlebotomists work throughout the healthcare continuum – including hospitals, diagnostic laboratories, medical clinics, and physician’s offices. They can also work in non-medical settings, such as blood donation banks, plasma centers, or traveling blood drives.
- Diagnostic Labs
- Other Healthcare Settings
How do you become a phlebotomist?
In most cases, becoming a phlebotomist only requires a non-secondary degree without any college required. The typical education path for a phlebotomist includes graduating from high school, enrolling in an accredited post-secondary phlebotomy program, and receiving certification through a national certification agency like the National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences (NACCLS) or American Society for Clinical Pathology (ASCP). Depending on the state of employment, specific requirements or certifications may be preferred or required over others.
- Graduate High School
- Attend a Certified Phlebotomy Program
- Receive Certification
What is the career outlook of a phlebotomist?
Once certified, phlebotomists can choose to stay in the career long-term or use their credentials and experience to springboard into a more advanced career in healthcare. For example, phlebotomists can become medical assistants or even nurses.
Becoming a phlebotomist is a great way to break into healthcare by learning tangible clinical skills across various advanced clinical positions. With a growth rate of 10% between 2021 and 2031 – phlebotomy can serve as a starting point for a rewarding healthcare career.