They arrive at the exam room with some gauze, some gloves, a few vials, an alcohol swab and, gulp, a needle. It’s the phlebotomist. How does one get into this career? This article will provide information for those looking to enter the healthcare field as a phlebotomist.
Phlebotomists are a crucial part of the medical team. Without the skill’s of a phlebotomist, lab technicians would not be able to perform tests and doctors would not be able to diagnose patients-or tell them that they are okay. The phlebotomist is a medical professional that draw blood samples, and perhaps not the most favorite person a squeamish patient wants to see.
According to Phlebotomy Pages, the term “phlebotomy” refers to the ancient practice of bloodletting, which involved the withdrawal of larger amounts of blood in an attempt to cure illnesses and disease. Bloodletting in modern medicine this practice has been largely abandoned but the term phlebotomy is now used for the withdrawal of blood from a vein, artery, or the capillary bed into blood specimen collection tubes for laboratory analysis or blood transfusion.
Phlebotomists can work in hospitals (either in the outpatient lab, or make rounds), commercial laboratories, clinics, private physician offices, public health departments, government medical facilities, insurance companies, blood banks and medical research centers.
Phlebotomists are often trained in other lab collection methods, such as urine collection. This can lead to additional tasks in the lab, or employment in other places such as pregnancy clinics.
Some phlebotomists working for clinics may work on the road visiting patients in-home and brining samples back to the lab for analysis.
EDUCATION & QUALIFICATIONS
While education requirements and certifications vary from state to state, most employers require graduating from an accredited phlebotomy program. Curriculum in phlebotomy programs includes anatomy and physiology, terminology, lab procedures and more. Lab procedure related classes my include learning about all different blood tests, collection methods and even use of a microscope. Most programs also require an off-site internship, too.
Ever wonder why all the collection tubes are different colors? Each one has an additive for certain tests. Phlebotomists are trained on all those specifics, as well as in safety precautions. This is to prevent the transmission of infectious diseases.
Also important is good vision, a steady hand and a good bedside manner (to deal with those afraid of needles!).
There is a great website called Phlebotomy Pages with offers some general information and career advice for those looking for more information on phlebotomy.