What is a Phlebotomist?

A phlebotomist is an essential member of the medical caregiving team. As the name suggests, this occupation calls for individuals trained in drawing and processing blood and associated bodily fluids. These fluids are vital to assessing patient health and diagnosing or monitoring illnesses. In the article below, we’ll explore the many facets of this specialty and provide some critical information about the profession.

A Sound Foundation

While it’s true that a phlebotomist does not need to complete a full medical degree, this should not detract from their importance in the caregiving environment. If you’ve ever donated blood or had a sample drawn at your doctor’s office, you’ve likely interacted with a trained specialist in this field. You also understand that finding and piercing an appropriate blood vessel isn’t as simple as it may look.

While the base line requirement for those interested in exploring a career in phlebotomy is a post-secondary non-degree award program, the coursework is rigorous and the standards are high. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, these programs are specialized for those not seeking a more generalized medical education, which is why they are separated from pre-med degree programs.

This allows instructors to focus on proper techniques and practices that their students will need to effectively carry out their duties in the real world. Additionally, students following this course of study may elect to pursue additional certification and licensing honors, which will render them more attractive to prospective employers.

Special Skills

Phlebotomy isn’t simply drawing blood. Those who practice this profession are trained in several other ways. Many patients or donors may experience discomfort or unease about having blood drawn. It’s up to the specialist caring for them to allay their worries. For some, this may come naturally, but other students of phlebotomy require a bit of guidance when it comes to comforting their patients.

In some cases, the phlebotomy technician may be called upon to explain the purpose of the tests for which the blood is being drawn or even describe the process to inquisitive patients. A certain amount of ease and willingness to informally educate patients is always considered a benefit. This may be considered bedside manner, although patients and donors who interact with these specialists are rarely confined in this manner.

Superior cleanliness and organizational skills are also essential to this profession. Because they are usually working with patients or donors without the assistance of other parts of a medical caregiving team, these specialists must uphold a rigorous standard of sanitary practice to prevent causing or spreading an infection. Especially in cases where they assist blood drives, phlebotomy technicians who maintain a high level of order and cleanliness are the best defense against the spread of blood-born diseases or associated infections.

It is often the responsibility of these specially trained technicians to draw, label, and safely store blood samples, as well as enter the pertinent details into a patient database for later reference. During the course of a phlebotomy certification program, individuals will be instructed in the different systems may clinics and medical facilities employ for these purposes.

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As a career that bodes to grow more than 25 percent in the next decade, this course of study offers many benefits to individuals who may not have the time or resources required to pursue a medical degree. It also offers a chance to work in a medical caregiving setting, which can lead to the acquisition of other skill sets and knowledge bases. While it’s an often-overlooked position, the phlebotomist remains a cornerstone of effective caregiving in both private and public practice.