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Healthcare In Five: Phlebotomist

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 trained in Phlebotomy. A phlebotomist is a trained medical professionals who specialize in drawing blood, also known as phlebotomy. Phlebotomy is a specialized skill performed by trained and licensed Phlebotomists that focuses on the procedure and processes surrounding the collection of patient blood inside a healthcare or donation setting. Continue reading to learn more about Phlebotomy.


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. Here are just a few of their many responsibilities.


Prepare and maintain blood drawing equipment.

Phlebotomists must be familiar with the blood draw process, including the correct methods, tools, and techniques required to collect patient blood safely and securely for analysis.

Review/confirm patient information and the blood draw type.

Phlebotomists work with different software and providers 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, including the correct way to clean the injection site, insert the needle, and dress the injection site after extraction. During this process, a phlebotomist may also need to take time to speak 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, a phlebotomist will label, sort, and package blood for transport and analysis in a lab. This includes physically marking samples and updating computer records to ensure blood is correctly shipped and analyzed.

Maintain a clean workstation and properly dispose of blood draw materials.

After completing a blood draw, a phlebotomist must properly clean their blood draw station, dispose of any medical waste, 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, traveling blood or others.

  • Hospitals
  • Diagnostic Labs
  • Other Healthcare Settings


How To Practice Phlebotomy?

In most cases, becoming a phlebotomist requires a certificate through a certified post-secondary or certified educational institution. 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 or the specific employer requirements, one certification may be prefered over another. A typical path to a phlebotomy career includes:

  • 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 return to school to become medical assistants or nurses – both of whom use phlebotomy in their careers as a core skill in their daily practice.

Becoming a phlebotomist is a great way to break into healthcare by learning tangible clinical skills. With a projected growth rate of 10% between 2021 and 2031 – phlebotomy can serve as a starting point for a rewarding career in healthcare.