There are plenty of reasons for choosing a career in the medical care field and a good percentage of students specialize in phlebotomy. Before becoming a phlebotomy technician, it is imperative to have a good idea of all it takes and what is expected. A phlebotomy technician plays an essential role in all laboratory processes but their primary duty is to draw blood from a patient for transfusion or testing. In contrast to doctors and nurses, phlebotomists (also called blood collection technicians) do not use their syringes to administer medication; rather they use them for venipuncture under the instructions of a heath care practitioner or a medical doctor.
Besides drawing blood, a phlebotomy technician is also involved in specimen handling, quality control, data entry into computers, and other clerical duties. As a phlebotomist, you must be able to collect and process blood samples from a variety of patients of different ages groups in accordance with established care policies and standards, including CLIA. You will also receive training in clinical laboratory testing procedures. This training will enable you to get accurate lab results that will be used by the doctor for diagnosis and administration of correct medication. If you are truly interested in this job, then you can attend various workshops, formal training programs, hands-on training, etc to master and increase your skills.
As a phlebotomist technician, you are expected to be extremely conscious about the cleanliness of your hands, the surroundings and the syringe you are using. Whenever syringes and blood are involved, proper hygiene must be observed because otherwise you will be risking infecting other patients with diseases such as HIV or hepatitis. You must ensure that the area of the skin where the syringe will be inserted is clean and sterilized. Furthermore, the syringe you are using should be unused and should not come into contact with anything before it is used.
To be able to draw blood from a patient, a phlebotomist must be relaxed and friendly. This is because there are so many people, especially children, that have a syringe phobia or become uncomfortable around syringes or needles. Therefore, the phlebotomy technician must be understanding and gentle in order to make this unpleasant moment bearable for such people. A friendly personality is not only necessary when working with patients, but is also essential when dealing with other colleagues.
A phlebotomy technician must be skilled at working well under pressure, be accurate in their work, communicate effectively, and be open to undertaking challenges and responsibilities. In addition, they are required to practice confidentiality and discretion and be able to understand their medical care environment.
To become a phlebotomist, you need to complete a phlebotomy course in an accredited college, vocational school or university. You must also be over 18 years of age to gain entry and have a high school diploma or a GED. On completion of the necessary course, you will be eligible to sit for a certification exam, which will qualify you as a certified phlebotomist. It is also important to get hands-on experience from a heath care facility so that you become well acquainted with the set procedures and practices.