Phlebotomy (Frequently Asked Questions & Answers)
What is phlebotomy?
Phlebotomy is the act of drawing blood from a vein, capillary or artery. The blood collected is then sent for laboratory analysis or used in blood transfusions after it has been screened for quality purposes. There are instances where minute quantities of blood are needed for testing. In these cases, finger-pricks and heel-pricks are performed. Finger-pricks and heel-pricks are usually performed on infants, whose tiny veins are too small and delicate for collection through a vein. Phlebotomy is a very important aspect of the health care industry. When blood is collected for testing it is usually used to detect diseases such as cancer, hepatitis, HIV and others. It can even detect allergies. Blood donation is also an important part of the phlebotomy and the health care field. Blood collected and then used in blood transfusions can be life-saving in some situations, such as severe loss of blood due to trauma.
What is a phlebotomist or a phlebotomy technician?
A phlebotomist or a phlebotomy technician is a professional in the health care field who specializes in the practice of phlebotomy. The phlebotomist’s primary role is the collection of blood from patients and the preparation of blood samples for laboratory analysis or blood donation. Through formal education, and from experience learned on the job at a medical facility, phlebotomists are well trained to perform phlebotomy. Patient care is a very important aspect of being a phlebotomist as well as having great interpersonal skills needed to ensure quality care is given to each and every patient. Phlebotomy certification is a training process whereby a national organization administers and recognizes the phlebotomy competency of someone based on certain standards in the practice of phlebotomy. Patients who are having their blood drawn from a phlebotomist with a phlebotomy certification designation will feel less stress knowing that they are in the hands of a well-trained phlebotomist professional.
What is a phlebotomist’s job description?
Phlebotomists need to know the proper techniques for blood collection and have an understanding of health care delivery systems. They may be required to take vital signs so knowing how to is definitely an asset. Knowledge of basic anatomy, medical terminology as well as physiology is important as well. In addition, a phlebotomist must have knowledge of transportation requirements for specimens, and proper documentation of patient records. They should be able to demonstrate safety precautions at all time, have strong ethics, and understand the legalities involved. The phlebotomist should have knowledge of commonly used health care concepts, practices and procedures within the health care field. All of these basic phlebotomy concepts and procedures are taught in a formal accredited phlebotomy program.
Are phlebotomist positions in high demand?
Careers in the health care industry provide the best long-term job security. Phlebotomists are very important members of the health care team. Their main role of drawing blood is critical in the analysis of a person’s well-being. Blood testing is a very important tool in determining a person’s overall health. With the aging baby boomer population and the need for blood testing to detect and treat any diseases there will always be a demand for phlebotomists. Phlebotomists have significant roles in any health facility. Their main role of drawing blood from patients frees up physicians and nurses time and allows them to focus their talents in other areas of quality health care. Phlebotomists who have achieved their phlebotomy certification designation will always be in higher demand or have more phlebotomy jobs available to them than those phlebotomists without it.
Where do phlebotomists work?
Phlebotomists work in any health care facility that requires phlebotomy to be performed. The most common place that you will see phlebotomists are in hospitals but they can work in other health care facilities like doctors’ offices, clinics, primary school, private medical practice, nursing homes, blood donation clinics, insurance companies. They can work in a large health care facility with as many as 3,000 other health care workers such as a large hospital or in a small clinic with only a few physicians. Some phlebotomists will be required to travel outside the hospital and service patients in their homes. These phlebotomists are typically employed by a health care facility that provides this off-site service.
What is the average salary of a phlebotomist?
The average phlebotomist salary in the United States is between $29, 268 & $31,000. The hourly rate for phlebotomists is between $10.75 – $15.00 /hour depending on the years of experience. Phlebotomists who have earned their phlebotomy certification will earn significantly more – up to $52,413 per year. It’s always wise to increase your salary with higher education. In phlebotomy, getting your phlebotomy certification will prove to your colleagues and management that you are serious about the profession and that you have a common understanding of the principles of phlebotomy. In addition, your annual salary as a certified phlebotomist is guaranteed to be higher than a professional phlebotomist who is not certified with the same years of experience.
What is a phlebotomy certification?
Phlebotomy certification is an achievement attained by a phlebotomy professional after they have successfully demonstrated their knowledge of the phlebotomy through the successful completion of an in depth phlebotomy exam provided by a certifying body. Once certification has been achieved, participants are required to ensure they stay current in the field as techniques and procedures change. Certified phlebotomists are generally expected to maintain their level of competency in phlebotomy by re-certification through future exams, continuing education or time spent within the discipline. Employers hiring phlebotomists recognize the competency of an individual with a certification and places more weight on certified applicants when assessing each individual candidate. In addition, those who hold a phlebotomy certification will be able to ask for and receive a higher salary than those who don’t have a phlebotomy certification.
Why Choose a Phlebotomy Certificate?
Certified phlebotomists will have better competency in the practice of phlebotomy than someone who is not certified in the discipline. This is because certified phlebotomists will have attended a formal phlebotomy training program and passed national exam on the topics surrounding phlebotomy. As a result of this competency, certified phlebotomists are in a better position to negotiate a better salary and more job opportunities will be available to them. Some employers may think that phlebotomists who are not certified are a liability and may put the organization at risk if there were ever an error. It’s always better to attend a formal phlebotomy training program and achieve phlebotomy designation for both yourself and your employer. Find a formal phlebotomy training program in your area and look for a phlebotomy training program that is approved by a certifying body.
Is a phlebotomy certification a requirement to work as a phlebotomist?
You do not have to have a phlebotomy certification to work as phlebotomist. Currently there are only 2 states in the U.S that require all persons to study and pass a phlebotomy certification before they are allowed to practice phlebotomy. Those 2 states are California and Louisiana. They require that “all persons who are not doctors, nurses or clinical lab scientists” to be licensed in those states in order to draw blood. However, being a certified phlebotomist is very beneficial for anyone wanting to develop a lasting career in the health care field as a phlebotomist. Certified phlebotomists gain recognition as phlebotomy professionals, receive more rapid career advancement and gain greater acceptance into management roles than those individuals who are not certified. Phlebotomy training programs are available across the US. Find one in your area to begin a lasting career as a phlebotomist.
Which Schools or Institutions offer Phlebotomy Certification?
There are many phlebotomy schools or educational institutions that provide phlebotomy programs that teach all the basic concepts and procedures needed for a phlebotomist to practice phlebotomy. Select and enroll in a phlebotomy training program that suites your needs. Ensure that the one you select is approved by a certifying body so that you can go on to write your phlebotomy certification once you have completed the course. There are many options available, including online phlebotomy programs that give you the flexibility of attending the class from anytime and anywhere. After completing the phlebotomy training program, become a certified phlebotomist by passing a phlebotomy exam offered a phlebotomy certifying body. The following is a list of phlebotomy certifying bodies:
American Society for Clinical Pathology
National Phlebotomy Association
Association of Phlebotomy Technicians
How can I become a certified phlebotomist?
Before a professional phlebotomist can become certified they must successfully complete a phlebotomy training program. Phlebotomy training programs are offered at many educational facilities, health institutions, and colleges across the U.S. Each certifying body will have different requirements that must be met before you are allowed to sit and write the exam and qualify for certification. For example the American Society of Clinical Pathology (ASCP) requires the completion of high school or equivalent, the completion of 40 hours in the classroom, 120 hours of clinical practical internship (hands-on training). Lastly, 100 successful documented and unaided venipunctures or skin punctures will be required. Research the certifying bodies where you can earn your phlebotomy certificate then select one that best suits your career path. Being certified in any profession is always better than not having it. One of the advantages is that you will be more competitive in the market when job opportunities arise and will be in a better position for career advancements.
What are some of the common ailments from a phlebotomy procedure that a phlebotomists needs to be aware of?
There are many ailments that a phlebotomy professional will need to be aware of. The phlebotomy training programs will discuss the causes, signs and symptoms, and cures of each to ensure that a phlebotomist can detect and treat each one if they are presented with it on the job. Below is a detailed list of some of the ailments that will be taught:
Allergic reaction to latex
Needle stick injuries
Damage to a nerve/injury of a blood vessel
Infection at the puncture site
What topics are included in a phlebotomy course description?
As an important member the health care system, phlebotomists need to know about the various health care systems across the US and be able to navigate through it. In addition, proper techniques to collect blood, how to deal with difficult patients and others topics related to phlebotomy will be taught such as career opportunities and advancement. There will be in depth discussions on the phlebotomy certification and how to achieve phlebotomy certification designation. In formal phlebotomy courses and training programs this topic is one of many topics that will be discussed in detail. Below are other topics that will be discussed:
Proper blood collection techniques and other specimens used for diagnostic testing
Detect and treat different ailments
Safety and universal precautions
Health care systems
Anatomy and physiology
What is the most important part of a Phlebotomist?
While there are many aspects of the phlebotomy profession that is important like the proper venipuncture technique applied to ensure that common ailments of the phlebotomy procedure are managed safely and securely. There is also a very important interpersonal skill that needs to be considered and that is patient care. Phlebotomists are always in direct contact with patients and are representatives of the lab that they collect blood samples to be used in testing and the health care center for which they work. As a result, phlebotomists must always be professional and be able to handle difficult patients with care. They must act tactfully and professionally at all times and ensure care is taken with each patient.
Can you become a phlebotomist without previously being in a medical field?
There has been no better time than the present to enter the health care industry in a career that will be in demand for years to come. Despite the recent hard economic times healthcare jobs are expected to grow faster than any other industry with ten of the 20 fastest growing occupations related to healthcare jobs. The best way to begin developing a career as a phlebotomist is to enroll in a phlebotomy training program to get training on the basics of phlebotomy. Then build on this foundation that will continue to grow throughout your career by getting your phlebotomy certification. Search for a phlebotomy training program offered in your area and begin your career in the health care field by getting a safe, secure and rewarding phlebotomy position.