It is a medical practitioner who is trained to take blood samples from patients and analyze them. To diagnose many illnesses, doctors need to look at the blood of a patient. The doctor will see the patient, make a temporary diagnosis showing what he thinks the phlebotomist should be looking for and then refer the patient to the laboratory to meet with the phlebotomist. The phlebotomy technician draws the blood and does the necessary tests. The results of the tests are sent directly back to the doctor who can then proceed to make a full diagnosis and prescribe the right medication.
What exactly should one study to become a phlebotomist?
The great thing about this profession is that you can get into this field with relatively basic qualifications. You can get right out of high school or college and go to a technical or vocational school to learn phlebotomy. The training takes between 6 months and a year depending on the type of phlebotomy certification one is looking to obtain. If you want to get promotions, it is important that you follow up your basic training with occasional refresher courses where you can learn what is new in the field.
The actual training will cover topics like cardiopulmonary resuscitation, legal and ethical issues that surround the field, basic bedside manner, drawing, handling and testing of blood. You will also learn basic computer skills because results are usually stored in computers. In addition to that, you have to be excellent in record keeping – all medical practice requires that meticulous records be kept for just about everything.
For most medical practitioners, phlebotomy is an additional course to their main training. A doctor, for example, has to learn how to draw blood and so does a nurse.
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Where do phlebotomists work?
Phlebotomists typically work in hospitals and private clinics. Depending on the size of the hospital, there will be a team of several of them, each of whom is assigned specific duties. When they are working in clinics, they usually have to have additional skills – smaller clinics will employ fewer employees so a nurse may have to double up as a phlebotomist.
Some phlebotomists work at blood banks; they are charged with drawing blood from donors and then storing it under the right conditions. It is their job to coordinate with different hospitals to issue them the required blood for patients. This kind of job requires additional training which includes how to manage a blood bank.
You know what is a phlebotomist, but is it a worthwhile profession to go into when it comes to the salary? If you are purely a phlebotomist and have no other skills that you can bring to the workplace, you will make about $19,000 a year. The best way to add to your salary is to get additional skills; train in something else that will make you get assigned different tasks so that you can earn more. You can, for example, start part time training to be a nurse.