Phlebotomists perform more than 100 blood draws every day with different patients, from infants to the elderly. This type of position demands active interaction with laboratory supervisors, doctors, nurses, health workers, patients and donors since they typically work in laboratories, public and private hospitals, clinics and blood banks.
They are health care professionals who are assigned to draw blood specimens from people attending a blood donation or patients in hospital. This is done in a number of stages; first by applying tourniquet to the arm. After the phlebotomists locate the vein they need to use antiseptic to swab the puncture area. To draw blood they need to insert the needle into vein. They assemble tourniquets and needles as well as prepare other necessary equipment such as blood collection devices, disposable containers for needles, cotton, gauze, and alcohol in neat and clean blood working tray.
However, before anything else, explaining the entire procedure and accurate instructions to patient or donor are essential for them to be aware for the right method of blood specimen collection and also to put them as ease. There are many people who are afraid of blood and also needles for that matter. That’s why phlebotomists should ensure the patient or donor to kept calm and still during the entire process. Further, in order to prevent any risk of infection or disease, phlebotomists need to keep the cleanliness of the phlebotomy area.
Health care professionals such as phlebotomists should always wear head caps, facemasks, gloves and gowns to avoid any contamination and must pursue the strict guidelines when collecting samples of blood for the safety of patients and themselves. Awareness and being prepared practices of sterilization and infection control is also another important factor to consider.
In addition, phlebotomists should know how to identify the records of donors or patients, conduct interviews and screen blood donors’ acceptability by examining blood samples. Based on the findings, they can also make recommendations to the patient. Likewise, phlebotomists should have abilities in record management. This is because they usually label and document the specimens taken from patients and record the information in an alphabetical filing system for future reference and research.
They are also responsible to secure the medical record of the patient to avoid any problems with legal matters. Capabilities in data entry routines are an advantage since phlebotomists are often required to write test results and complete the laboratory accession record. Moreover, they should be aware in proper phone etiquette to answer phone calls from patients to set an appointment with doctor and also to route phone calls to the right member of the laboratory or medical office.
In order to become a phlebotomist, anyone wishing for this role should be a graduate of any degree related to medicine or health care. License or certification is required given that complete knowledge of human anatomy to locate veins is the fundamental of the job. It is also to reduce the impact of liability due to wrong practices; for example, miscalculation of inserting needles to the right vein resulted to severe pain and contamination. Good communication skills are also important and other qualities such as being patience, hard working, responsible and with presence of mind is an edge that you should have to give you the best chance.