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Phlebotomist vs. Nurse: What Are the Differences?

Learn about the two careers and review some of the similarities and differences between them.

Phlebotomists and nurses are both medical professionals who work with patients. They have many similarities, but there are also some key differences between the two roles. If you’re interested in a career in the medical field, learning more about phlebotomy and nursing can help you decide which path is right for you. In this article, we compare and contrast phlebotomy and nursing, including job duties, education requirements and salary information.

What is a Phlebotomist?

Phlebotomists are trained medical professionals who specialize in drawing blood from patients for various purposes such as blood tests, transfusions or research studies. They work in hospitals, blood banks, clinics or laboratories and follow strict safety protocols to protect both patients and themselves. Phlebotomists must be skilled in venipuncture, the process of puncturing a vein to draw blood, and they often use special equipment such as needles, syringes or vacutainers. They must be able to calm anxious patients and ensure that they are comfortable during the procedure. Phlebotomists must also take care to label and store blood samples properly to ensure that they are not contaminated.

What is a Nurse?

Nurses provide direct patient care in a variety of settings, including hospitals, clinics, private practices, nursing homes and home health care agencies. They work with patients of all ages to assess their health, provide treatment and education on illness and injury prevention, and help them manage chronic conditions. Nurses also work with families to support them through difficult times and provide guidance on how to best care for their loved ones. In some cases, nurses may also provide hospice care to terminally ill patients and their families.

Phlebotomist vs. Nurse

Here are the main differences between a phlebotomist and a nurse.

Job Duties

One of the biggest differences between phlebotomists and nurses is their respective job duties. Phlebotomists only perform procedures that extract blood for analysis, so they typically work in locations like laboratories or hospitals. They may draw blood from veins or arteries, depending on the type of test a patient needs.

Nurses also perform procedures to assist patients, but their job duties are much more extensive. In addition to performing medical procedures, nurses provide emotional support and care to patients by monitoring their health and offering advice. They often work in nursing homes, hospitals or private practice clinics.

Job Requirements

Phlebotomists typically need to earn a certificate or diploma from a phlebotomy training program before they can enter the workforce. These programs usually last for a few months and cover topics like human anatomy, medical terminology and safety procedures. Some states also require phlebotomists to be licensed, which might involve passing an exam.

Nurses must first obtain a bachelor’s degree in nursing (BSN) from an accredited institution. They must then pass the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX-RN) to become licensed registered nurses (RNs). Nurses can further their education by earning a master’s degree in nursing (MSN), which can lead to advanced practice roles such as nurse practitioner or nurse anesthetist.

Work Environment

Phlebotomists and nurses both work in hospitals, doctor’s offices, nursing homes and other healthcare facilities. However, phlebotomists may also work in non-medical settings such as blood donation centers or laboratories. They may travel to different locations for their job duties, but they typically work full time hours during regular business hours.

Nurses usually work in medical settings, although some choose to become traveling nurses who work at multiple healthcare facilities. Nurses often work overtime and weekends to provide 24/7 care to patients. Some nurses work part time, while others work full time.


There are several similarities in the skills used by phlebotomists and nurses. Both need to have excellent communication skills to interact with patients, as well as strong attention to detail to ensure they accurately collect and record patient information. They also both need to be able to follow safety protocols and have physical stamina to stand for long periods of time.

However, there are some differences in the skills used by these two professions. Phlebotomists need to have good manual dexterity to be able to efficiently and effectively collect blood samples. Nurses need to have strong critical thinking skills to be able to assess patients and make decisions about their care.


Phlebotomists earn an average salary of $41,913 per year, while nurses earn an average salary of $72,127 per year. The average salary for both positions may vary depending on the state in which you work, the type of facility you work in and the level of education you have.


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