What are the Duties of a Phlebotomist

It has been proved time and again that one’s aptitude for a job is a better determinant of one’s success in the job as compared to skill set. This is even more true for a job like that of a phlebotomist since a phlebotomist is expected to soothe the frayed nerves of the patients. More often than not the phlebotomist happens to be the only point of contact of a patient with the laboratory.

“, it is important that you take some time out to understand the duties of a phlebotomist thoroughly. After that analyze yourself and see if you have what it will take to perform these duties day after day for may be the next 30 years or so. This is a much smarter approach to selecting a career than simply deciding one based on salary and/or duration of the certification process. To help you in the above process, we have provided a short description of most of the important duties of a phlebotomist viz

  • Managing the patient
  • Venipuncture and Blood sample collection
  • Labeling of blood samples and sending them to laboratoryduties of phlebotomist

Managing the patient

In my personal opinion, this is the most important task that a phlebotomist has to perform. People do not come for phlebotomy out of willing. They are forced to undergo the procedure because the physician suspects some disease. That can be quite unnerving for a number of people. The long drawn procedures of hospitals may make them irritated as well. The way a phlebotomist handles the patient, determines the final impression of the entire hospital that he/ she carries with him/ her.

That task is made a lot more difficult by the different ways in which different people want to be treated. Some people want a professional treatment i.e the phlebotomist should simply draw the blood and let him go. Some other people on the other hand will like the phlebotomist to empathize with them and discuss their conditions with them. There is no need to give any expert opinion but some general assurance like “very few people who get tested for this procedure test positive” will go a long way.

Venipuncture and blood sample collection

Venipuncture and blood collection is the reason of existence of the phlebotomist. These are actually two steps of the process of blood collection. Venipuncture is the act of inserting the needle into the vein and then the collection is the act of drawing the blood and then storing it properly.

One way to excel in this duty is develop an intuition for finding the right vein to puncture without having to resort to multiple attempts. In all my years as a phlebotomist, this is one thing that always created a positive impression on the patient without fail.

Labeling of blood samples and sending them to laboratory

If there is one task in the world where 6 sigma accuracy is not good enough, then it has to be this one. Even if a single sample in a million gets wrongly labeled or gets contaminated before reaching the laboratory, then a life can be in danger. That is why a phlebotomist needs to be able to keep his calm even when dealing with a really irritating customer. Once the blood is properly labeled with the patient’s name and unique identification, then it is sent to the laboratory for further tests and final report.

The idea of the post is not to discourage anyone from taking up the job as a phlebotomist. However please remember that your personality is more important than technical details. So try to see if you are the type of person who is ready to perform the above duties day after day for the next 30 years or not.

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