The Phlebotomist On The Medical Team
A career in phlebotomy is rewarding. Phlebotomists works alongside doctors and nurses, providing a vital service. Training in this field is relatively short with most students completing the course in about four months. After graduating, students take an exam to become certified, which allows them to confidently practice their skills across the country.
The job description of a phlebotomist varies according to the place of employment. Basically, a phlebotomist collects blood from a patient’s veins for the purpose of laboratory analysis. Training involves the proper techniques for drawing blood with additional courses on special cases. Infants, the elderly and accident victims may require different procedures to collect blood and the phlebotomist should be knowledgeable in them as well. Occasionally, the phlebotomist may be required to collect urine samples for testing. There are specific collection techniques to follow and training covers the safety and legal requirements.
The Precision Of The Phlebotomist
After collecting the required specimens, the phlebotomist must accurately label the sample and prepare it to be sent to the laboratory. A phlebotomist must therefore be detail-oriented and very attentive. In most cases, the specimens are vital for determining the diagnosis of a patient and there is no room for mistakes.
Depending on the training and the place of employment, phlebotomists may also interpret test results. Once again, this involves close scrutiny and a strict adherence to specific procedures. Sometimes, a phlebotomist may be asked to make a recommendation based on the test’s results. This will only happen if the phlebotomist is employed in a laboratory or research facility.
For the most part, phlebotmoists are employed in hospitals, clinics or a doctor’s private practice. In fact, over half of all phlebotomists work in hospitals. Their main role is collecting blood in a safe manner. Since the phlebotomist works very closely with the patients, communication and people skills must be highly developed. Many times the patients will be fearful, not only of drawing blood or the needles, but also because of their medical condition. A phlebotomist must be able to put the patient at ease while performing their job quickly and efficiently.
Phlebotomists may also be employed at blood banks. Sometimes a phlebotomist may be asked to travel to locations like nursing homes to collect blood specimens. If employed by a research lab or testing facility, the phlebotomist must be highly skilled in the strict guidelines that reduce the risk of contamination by infectious diseases. As seen by these examples, the job description and duties of a phlebotomist may vary according to their place of employment. What won’t vary however, are the skills needs to perform this career. In all situations, the phlebotomist must be able to collect blood samples and prepare them for laboratory testing.
Tools Of The Phlebotomy Trade
Because of the infectious nature of bodily fluids, phlebotomists must be actively aware of precautions to take. They are required to wear protective clothing that may include gloves, scrubs or a mask. This is to protect the health of the phlebotomist as well as to minimize the spread of diseases among other patients who are in the same facility or doctor’s office.
The proper care of the instruments used and the sterilization techniques are part of the duties of the phlebotomist. Knowing how to use the various instruments, as well as the procedures to maintain a sterile environment are vital to the phlebotomist’s job. All specimens must remain uncontaminated and clearly marked. While on the job, the phlebotomist must be professional in appearance and manners and aware of the many safety issues involved in drawing blood.
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