In 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.