Phlebotomist Job Description and Training Requirements
The phlebotomist is a healthcare professional who draws blood from patients. They take blood samples, label them, enter them into a database and transport them to the lab. These samples are tested for health issues such as cholesterol, bacteria, and diseases. The phlebotomist can work in many different kinds of medical facilities such as private labs, blood banks, and hospitals. The phlebotomist job description can vary from employer to employer.
Job Duties of the Phlebotomist
Working as a phlebotomist can be a very rewarding profession. The phlebotomist is responsible for drawing blood from patients. They’ll work with a wide variety of patients from infants to adults on a daily basis. Depending on where they work, they may work with a specific age group more than any other. For example, working at a children’s hospital will mean that the phlebotomist will regularly work with children, teens, and infants.
When your day begins, prior to seeing patients, you’ll first need to ensure that the room you’re working in is well stocked and the room itself, in addition to any tools you use, are sterile.
As a phlebotomist, you’ll be responsible for drawing blood from patients. You’ll also be responsible for preparing the samples for transport, documenting the amount of blood taken and entering it into a database and ensuring that the patient’s medical information and home address are correct. This position will also require you to determine the best method for the blood draw depending on the specific patient, and centrifuge the samples depending on if this duty is allowed to be carried out by a phlebotomist based on state regulations.
While venipuncture is the most common method for drawing blood, a phlebotomist will also need to perform artery collection and dermal puncture.
There are many patients who experience anxiety when having their blood drawn. As a phlebotomist, it will be your responsibility to explain the procedure and help to ease a patient’s anxiety.
This position also requires following strict precautionary safety measures in order to reduce the risk of contact with potentially infectious bodily fluids, tissues, and blood. You’ll need to be familiar with the policies and laws that are related to the handling of hazardous materials.
Labeling and record keeping are also major duties for this job. The phlebotomist will need to ensure that the right tests are performed on the correct specimens.
Other Job Duties
Most phlebotomists are also responsible for ordering their own supplies and taking inventory, communicating with patients, doctors, nurses, and other medical staff, and scheduling patient appointments. If you work in a smaller facility, you’ll have a wider range of job duties including answering the phones, updating patient’s charts and cleaning and stocking the blood draw room at the beginning and at the end of the day.
If you work at a blood bank you may be required to participate in blood drives, working with a large volume of volunteers donating blood. Often, a state will require the phlebotomist to undergo additional training to learn how to draw larger volumes of blood, safely.
Possible places for employment can include private practices, general hospitals, pediatric hospitals, clinics, and blood banks.
Training in this Field
Ultimately, the type of duties you’re able to perform will be based on state laws and regulations. Currently, only a few states require phlebotomy training and certification, but most employers will not hire a phlebotomist who doesn’t have a formal background in this field.
Phlebotomy training and job duties differ from state to state. Generally, you should expect to enroll in a phlebotomy program that lasts two to nine months, in addition to a clinical period where you’ll work alongside professional phlebotomists and learn how to properly perform the venipuncture procedure. Most classes will prepare you for the clinical portion of the program. The clinical work is probably the most exciting and terrifying portion of the program. The length of field work requirements will depend on the length of the program itself. Typically, most programs offer clinical training that will take two to four weeks to complete.
Clinical training will involve working with professional phlebotomists, shadowing them as they perform different types of blood draw procedures. This type of training is very hands on. In the beginning, you’ll work on volunteers or fellow classmates, practicing venipuncture, but towards the end of the program, you’ll need to successfully complete a blood draw on an actual patient. If you want to become a certified phlebotomist, you’ll need to complete a minimum of a hundred successful venipunctures before you’re eligible for the exam.
After the completion of in-class work and clinical work, you’ll receive a certification of completion.
Why you’ll Love the Phlebotomy Career
Working is the field can be the perfect entry level position for anyone who’s interested in a career in the medical field. Aside from completing a training program, the phlebotomist must also have excellent people and communication skills, not to mention patience. They must also have great attention to detail and the ability to work well in a fast-paced environment.
Many careers in the medical field will require several years of training and clinical work. Because this position only requires the completion of a certificate program, it’s a great way to earn essential experience in the healthcare field. This quick path to an exciting healthcare career, with excellent benefits, salary and job security is why this job has seen a significant boom during the last few years. To learn more about how to become a phlebotomist see our guide.
A number of professionals in the healthcare industry have used their experience in this field to springboard their career further in the medical field. Since the phlebotomist can work in a variety of medical facilities, they’re exposed to a number of potential career options. For those individuals looking to further their careers, going back to school part-time in a medical related field while working part or full-time as a phlebotomist can even count towards mandatory clinical training hours required for other positions.
The average salary for this position ranges from $34,000 to $42,000 depending on training, education level, experience, and employer. Usually, phlebotomists with more than five years of experience can earn around $44,000 annually.