What Is A Phlebotomist And What Are Their Responsibilities?
Did you know that the need for phlebotomists is expected to grow 25%? In this article, I will discuss what they do and why it is a great career! Read on to discover why this is such a stable and fast-growing position.
1. What Is Phlebotomy
It is the process of venipuncture (puncturing the vein) to get a blood sample for a blood test. For donations, it would be known as bloodletting.
2. What Does a Phlebotomist Do
You might be wondering what does a phlebotomist do? They draw and prepare blood for donations, testing, and transfusions. They collect blood from various ways including venipuncture, heel pricks((infants), and finger pricks.
They normally work in clinics, hospitals, medical offices, diagnostic laboratories, and blood donation centers. Another name you could go by is an allied medical professional.
A day could entail:
- Preparing patients for drawing their blood
- Making sure the patient’s information is accurate and the labels on vials are correct
- Explain the blood drawing process to the patient
- Support nervous patients with blood draws
- Start the transfusions and blood draws
- Help patients who may experience adverse reactions afterward
- Gather and store blood draw supplies and instruments
- Label and identify blood samples
- Follow the directions of managers
You will work full time and if working in a hospital or lab might be expected to work nights, weekends, or holidays.
As a phlebotomist, you will mainly draw blood which is used for medical laboratory testing. In diagnostic and medical laboratories, the patient’s interaction is sometimes only with the phlebotomist.
Carefully identifying and labeling samples is extremely important since all samples look the same. They then enter that information into the database.
Some phlebotomists draw blood for donations. They must always keep their area and instruments clean and sanitary to avoid infections or other possible complications.
To learn more about what a phlebotomist does check out this blog.
2. Certifications Necessary for Phlebotomy
Did you know the median for a phlebotomist salary is $34,480? So not only are the opportunities expected to grow, but the pay is steady. Another reason to love phlebotomy?
You only need a non-degree diploma or certification! The certifications are usually less than a year and include hands-on training as well. There are no federal certification or licensure requirements.
Certifications include laboratory work and classroom sessions. You will also learn anatomy and physiology and medical terminology.
An employer may require you to obtain and maintain other certifications as well. Some of those certifications might be the National Healthcareer Association(NHA), the National Center for Competency Testing(NCCT), the American Society for Clinical Pathology(ASCP), or the American Medical Technologists(AMT).
Four states do require special state certification:
3. Job Outlook
The Bureau of Labor Statistics says that between 2016-2026, employment is expected to grow 26%. That is about 30,100 jobs opening up! Also, it is ranked #13 best jobs without a college degree.
It is found that Phlebotomists have high job satisfaction with their position as well, and lower stress.
4. Work Environment
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, they held about 122,700 jobs in 2016 and employment is listed below:
- Hospitals 37%
- Diagnostic and Medical Laboratories 32%
- Ambulatory healthcare services 15%
- Physicians offices 8%
- Outpatient care centers 2%
As a phlebotomist, you could travel to different sites and offices to set up mobile donation centers. You could also travel to patients’ homes or long-term care centers.
It can be a very fun and rewarding career! You will meet many people daily, and draw blood samples. Also, you will help those who are nervous about having blood drawn.
The position is fast paced but can depend as well on where you work. If you work at a draw station, they tend to be quicker, but hospitals floors can work a bit slower. You can decide which environment will be the right fit for you and could have many choices since the employment rate is growing.
5. Important Traits
There are many different traits to have which are important to have.
Below are some very important traits to have:
- Detail oriented. You must draw the correct amount of blood and enter the information into the database. Being detail oriented is important because all information must be accurate and not misplaced.
- Compassion. You must be understanding that not everyone is comfortable with needles. It is important to be patient with those who are nervous.
- Dexterity. You must be able to use your hands properly and efficiently.
- Hand-eye coordination. Since you are drawing from patients all day, you must be able to draw successfully the first attempt so the patient doesn’t become uncomfortable.
- Physical stamina
Can you see yourself working in such a fun and rewarding career? Wouldn’t you love to be in a career that is expected to grow 25%? You will be helping others, and making them feel more comfortable when they are nervous about having their blood drawn.
Not only will you be helping others, but you will be stepping foot into a career that has a certification which normally takes a year or less, steady income, and many job opportunities!
You could work in a variety of different locations, so could find the right fit for you and easily find full-time work. Whether you see yourself in a hospital, lab, blood donation centers, or diagnostic laboratories, this will be a rewarding and beneficial opportunity.
If you see yourself being detail-oriented, compassionate, and comfortable with all the benefits of this position, it could be right for you!
Would you like to learn more? Check out our blog to find out even more about health and well being.
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