A phlebotomist is an individual that has been trained in the safe collection of blood samples from patients, ready to be laboratory tested. The samples are collected using a needle, most commonly utilizing the venipuncture technique. Once collected, it is a phlebotomists duty to accurately document each sample and store them safely, adhering to what was learned during phlebotomy training procedures.
In the majority of medical conditions or illness a phlebotomist will be called upon to take blood samples from the patient to undergo testing in a laboratory. This is a vital part to the diagnostic process and an essential task in any medical facility. There are also some cases where a patient is required to have their blood tested on a regular basis. A patient that is receiving hemodialysis treatment will also need regular phlebotomist attention in order for their blood to be cleansed and restored to the circulatory system.
In order to pursue a career in this field, an approved phlebotomy training course must be completed. There are no special requirements needed to start this study except that of a high school degree. Phlebotomy education consists of a number of core ‘blocks’ relating to different areas of teaching, all relevant to your chosen career path. Training in venipuncture, finger sticks, heel sticks and other sample collecting devices will be taught, as well as how to competently deal with small children and sick or frightened patients. It is also recommended that you take a phlebotomy certification exam, this exam demonstrates your skill and knowledge in this area. Many hospital or clinics will require that this is successfully completed before considering an individual for employment as a phlebotomist.
Phlebotomy and those that practice it are a core member of any clinical or medical staff. Excellent interpersonal and communication skills are essential as you are going to be working closely with both patients and their doctors and nurses. Though there are very few actual requirements to starting out in this area, a working medical background is a huge advantage when it comes to applying for a position as a registered phlebotomist.