What Is A Phlebotomist?

what is a phlebotomistOne way to get into the medical profession is to become a phlebotomist. But what is a phlebotomist?

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.

How much do phlebotomists earn?

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.

Phlebotomist Job Description

phlebotomist job descriptionIn the general sense, a phlebotomist is a professional who works in a hospital lab, drawing and analyzing blood so that they can find diseases. But what is their job description? What does their day look like?

A phlebotomist’s daily  duties may include:

They compare test requests to the nursing stations log. If there are discrepancies, it is their job to point them out.

Before they take any blood from a patient, they are supposed to verify patient information. They will ask the patient to confirm their name and the name of the doctor who has sent them to the lab with the request.

They are supposed to get blood samples from patients using either venipunctures or finger sticks. A big part of their job is to make sure that they calm and comfort the patients before they draw the blood; many people are afraid of needles.

Using the laid down procedures, they are supposed to maintain the integrity of all blood samples, including those that need isolation because they may be carriers of transmittable diseases.

They are supposed to make sure that all equipment that is supposed to be destroyed, like used needles, is logged and destroyed. They should get the necessary documentation to support this.

It is their job to send test results back to the doctor after they have analyzed samples.

They may be required to go to the wards to patient’s bedsides to take blood samples and sometimes to administer other drugs, like glucose.

They are supposed to keep meticulous records that they get from the blood work that they do. This means that they must know the filing system whether it is in a computer or whether it is manual. Most hospitals have computerized their operations so records are captured through special computer programs. It is part of the phlebotomist’s job description to know how to use these programs.

Some phlebotomists go on to work in blood banks. Part of their job description includes making sure that they attract enough blood donors, that they keep the blood in safe and sterile conditions and that they coordinate with hospitals and clinics to supply their blood needs. They are also supposed to keep records about the people that come in to donate, their blood types and all the results from the tests that are done on donated blood.

Some phlebotomist job descriptions include working in the lab to analyze specimens. This means that they have to know how different chemicals react with blood samples to reveal disease or infection. If they are not sure of their results, it is their job to get a consult either from other phlebotomists or doctors with the necessary experience.

Part of the phlebotomist job description is making sure that they comply to all legal and hospital requirements as regards the drawing of blood, analyzing and storing samples. They are supposed to protect the hospital from lawsuits that may stem from the procedure.

These are just some of the things that phlebotomists have to do on a daily basis. Different institutions will have specific requirements for their phlebotomists.