Career Development

What Does a Phlebotomist Do?

Find out what a phlebotomist does, how to get this job, and what it takes to succeed as a phlebotomist.

Phlebotomists are medical professionals who draw blood from patients. They use a variety of techniques to obtain and preserve this blood, which they then send off for testing or return to the patient.

Phlebotomists may also be responsible for taking other types of samples, such as urine or tissue samples. They commonly work with other medical technicians and doctors to ensure that tests are performed correctly and results are interpreted accurately.

Phlebotomist Job Duties

Phlebotomists have a wide range of responsibilities, which can include:

  • Collecting blood samples in vials or syringes from patients using a rubber tourniquet and needle or alternative collection device
  • Reviewing laboratory results to identify potential errors in test results or to identify potential disease risks
  • Following safety guidelines for handling and disposing of infectious waste such as needles and syringes
  • Maintaining accurate patient records including information about insurance coverage, allergies and current medications
  • Cleaning and disinfecting equipment before and after each use
  • Explaining the procedure to patients and obtaining written consent from patients or their legal representatives
  • Collecting blood from patients using finger pricking methods or from patients who have scheduled appointments for blood draws
  • Assisting physicians with procedures involving drawing blood from patients who are anesthetized or sedated
  • Calculating the amount of blood drawn from each patient based on weight and other factors

Phlebotomist Salary & Outlook

Phlebotomists’ salaries vary depending on their level of education and experience, the company size and geographic location.

  • Median Annual Salary: $36,000 ($17.31/hour)
  • Top 10% Annual Salary: $47,000 ($22.6/hour)

The employment of phlebotomists is expected to grow much faster than average over the next decade.

Phlebotomists will be needed to draw blood samples from patients in medical laboratories and other healthcare settings. In addition, demand for phlebotomists is expected to increase as more healthcare services are provided outside traditional medical offices, such as in urgent care centers and retail clinics.

Related: In-Depth Phlebotomist Salary Guide

Phlebotomist Job Requirements

Phlebotomists typically need to have the following qualifications:

Education: Phlebotomists are required to have a high school diploma or GED certificate. Many phlebotomists choose to pursue an associate’s degree in phlebotomy to increase their job opportunities and earning potential. Courses in anatomy, physiology, biology and medical terminology are included in an associate’s degree in phlebotomy.

Training & Experience: Most phlebotomists will receive on-the-job training from their new employers. This training will typically last for a few weeks and will teach the new employee how to use the equipment and techniques required for the job.

Certifications & Licenses: Phlebotomists are required to have a certification before practicing in the industry. Candidates can choose to take the National Certification Examination offered by the American Medical Certification Agency.

Phlebotomist Skills

Phlebotomists need the following skills in order to be successful:

Communication: Phlebotomists must be able to communicate with patients to put them at ease and explain the procedure. They must also be able to communicate with physicians to ensure the procedure is performed correctly. Phlebotomists must also be able to communicate with other medical professionals to ensure the patient’s health is not compromised.

Attention to detail: Phlebotomists must have excellent attention to detail to ensure they draw the correct amount of blood and enter the correct information into the patient’s medical records. Attention to detail is also important when labeling and storing blood samples. Phlebotomists should also pay close attention to the patient’s reactions to ensure they are comfortable and the procedure is going smoothly.

Empathy: Phlebotomists must be able to empathize with patients to help them feel more comfortable during the procedure. You can do this by explaining the procedure in detail, answering any questions they may have and keeping them updated throughout the process.

Dexterity: Phlebotomists need to have good dexterity in their hands to perform their duties. They need to be able to hold a patient’s skin taut while inserting the needle and then draw blood from the patient’s vein. They also need to be able to handle the needles and other equipment with care.

Professionalism: Professionalism is the ability to act in a way that is respectful and courteous to others. Phlebotomists should be professional when interacting with patients and other medical staff. This includes being on time, following hospital protocols and procedures and maintaining a positive attitude.

Phlebotomist Work Environment

Phlebotomists work in a variety of settings, including hospitals, blood banks, clinics, and laboratories. They may work in outpatient or inpatient settings, or they may travel to patients’ homes to collect blood samples. Phlebotomists typically work a regular 40-hour week, although they may be required to work evenings, weekends, or holidays to meet the needs of their patients. The work can be stressful, and phlebotomists must be able to handle the sight of blood and the potential for exposure to infectious diseases. They must also be able to deal with the emotional stress of working with patients who may be anxious or fearful about having their blood drawn.

Phlebotomist Trends

Here are three trends influencing how phlebotomists work. Phlebotomists will need to stay up-to-date on these developments to keep their skills relevant and maintain a competitive advantage in the workplace.

The Need for More Phlebotomists

The need for more phlebotomists is a trend that is being driven by the increasing demand for blood tests. As hospitals and other medical facilities require more blood tests, they are turning to phlebotomists to provide them with the necessary samples.

Phlebotomists can take advantage of this trend by becoming certified in additional areas, such as blood banking or hematology. This will allow them to work in a wider range of settings and provide even more value to their employers.

More Focus on Patient Safety

As healthcare becomes more complex, the need for phlebotomists who can focus on patient safety is growing.

Phlebotomists are essential members of the healthcare team, as they are responsible for collecting blood samples from patients. In order to ensure patient safety, phlebotomists must be able to perform their job safely and efficiently.

In order to stay ahead of the curve, phlebotomists should focus on developing skills that will make them more valuable to hospitals and clinics. This may include training in new technologies or procedures that improve patient care.

A Greater Emphasis on Preventative Care

As preventative care becomes an increasingly important part of health care, phlebotomists will play an important role in helping to keep patients healthy.

Phlebotomists are often the first point of contact for patients, and they are responsible for taking blood samples and performing other tasks related to preventive care. By becoming familiar with the latest trends in preventative care, phlebotomists can help to ensure that patients get the care they need to stay healthy.

How to Become a Phlebotomist

A career as a phlebotomist can be both rewarding and lucrative. It’s important to start by getting the right training. Many hospitals and clinics offer phlebotomy technician programs that last between six months and one year. These programs teach you how to draw blood safely and effectively, as well as how to handle medical emergencies.

After completing your training, it’s important to build up your experience by working in different settings. You can do this by volunteering at local hospitals or clinics, or by taking on extra shifts when you see there is an opening. This will help you develop your skills and become more familiar with the procedures involved in phlebotomy.

Related: How to Write a Phlebotomist Resume

Advancement Prospects

Phlebotomists who wish to advance their careers may do so by becoming certified. Certification is not required for all positions, but it may be required for some jobs, and it may also lead to higher pay. Phlebotomists can become certified through the American Society of Phlebotomy Technicians, the National Phlebotomy Association, or the American Medical Technologists.

In addition to certification, phlebotomists may also advance their careers by completing a phlebotomy training program. These programs are typically offered at community colleges and technical schools, and they may lead to an associate’s degree or a certificate. Phlebotomists who have completed a training program may be eligible for higher-paying positions, and they may also be able to advance to supervisory roles.

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