What Is Phlebotomy?
Surgery Encyclopedia defines phlebotomy as the act by which blood is drawn or removed from a patient’s circulatory system through an incision. Patients usually undergo phlebotomy so healthcare professionals can have a sample for testing, analysis, or research. Phlebotomy might also take place for transfusions, medical procedures, or donations.
Typically, phlebotomy involves drawing blood from the upper arm. The phlebotomist applies a tourniquet to the arm, disinfects the target area, locates a vein, and inserts the needle. Before the needle is removed, the phlebotomist releases the tourniquet.
Afterward, the needle is immediately disposed of in a biohazard container. This type of phlebotomy, where blood is drawn from a vein, is called venipuncture. Phlebotomists might also draw blood via finger pricks or heel pricks in the case of infants.
The person who undertakes phlebotomy is a healthcare professional called a phlebotomist. One can usually find a phlebotomist working in a hospital, clinic, private doctor’s office, diagnostic laboratory, medical office, nursing care facility, or another healthcare environment.
If you are looking for a phlebotomy program in California, consider enrolling in the Clinical Medical Assistant with Phlebotomy program at Blake Austin College. Upon completing an externship in this program, you will be prepared to fulfill the State of California Licensure requirements to become a Certified Phlebotomy Technician (CPT-1).
What Do Phlebotomists Do?
The main job of the phlebotomist is to execute the drawing of a patient’s blood for any of the reasons mentioned above. However, daily, the phlebotomist will also be responsible for several peripheral but important tasks, including the following:
- Explaining to patients how their blood draw will go and helping them prepare.
- Taking care of nervous or anxious patients, as well as those who have adverse reactions to the phlebotomy procedure.
- Following the directions of supervising healthcare professionals.
- Ensuring that equipment is properly sanitized before use & ensuring proper personal sanitation before undertaking a phlebotomy procedure.
- Properly identifying, labeling, and tracking blood samples.
- Keeping phlebotomy tools properly stored and organized.
- Ensuring that vials are properly labeled and verifying patients’ identities.
- Performing clerical and data entry tasks.
Qualities of a Good Phlebotomist
Attention to Detail
It is of utmost importance that a phlebotomist can pay great attention to detail. Because healthcare professionals often depend on the accurate results of a patient’s blood test in determining diagnosis, treatment, and other care factors, a phlebotomist must be careful when it comes to properly identifying patients, as well as labeling, storing, and organizing samples.
Associating a blood sample with the wrong patient, for example, could have dire or even fatal consequences. Similarly, phlebotomists must be careful not to contaminate blood samples in any way once they have been collected, as this could compromise test results.
Focus and Concentration
Focus and concentration are essential when a phlebotomist is drawing blood. A steady hand and good coordination skills will ensure that the experience is as comfortable as possible for the patient and will encourage the swiftness of the procedure. Phlebotomists must be very careful with the tools and equipment they use, especially if there are many patients in succession. They must take steps to avoid direct contact with the blood and prevent cross-contamination between patients.
A phlebotomist should also have good interpersonal skills. Phlebotomists should be able to properly explain procedures to their patients and reassure those who are anxious or nervous. Many people get very nervous around needles and even tend to shift around anxiously in anticipation of the needle entry. If a patient moves around while a needle is in their arm, this can cause further pain and discomfort and compromise the process.
Patience and Compassion
A phlebotomist should be even-tempered and willing to help a patient to calm down and prepare to have blood taken. Patients come in all temperaments and personality types, and a phlebotomist should be prepared to deal with the range of human personality types and emotions.
Becoming a Phlebotomist in California
To become a phlebotomist in California, you will need to have a high school diploma or GED. Then, it’s advised that you enroll in a phlebotomy training program. The Clinical Medical Assistant with Phlebotomy program at Blake Austin College in Vacaville, California is designed to provide the practical and theoretical base that you need to begin a career in phlebotomy.
The program includes training on the latest techniques in venipuncture and phlebotomy, in addition to training in several other areas that are essential to the work of a phlebotomist or medical assistant in a health care setting.
California is also one of four states that require phlebotomists to be licensed. After completing the externship that is a part of our Clinical Medical Assistant with Phlebotomy program, you will be equipped to sit for state licensure in California.
Learn More Today!
If you are looking for an exciting new healthcare career that can take you into a variety of environments and allow you to help both patients and other healthcare professionals, consider taking the path of phlebotomy. Contact us today to learn more about our program.
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