Choosing Your Career: Phlebotomy Technician vs. Medical Assistant

August 6, 2019

what does a phlebotomy technician do

Two of the most in-demand medical professions in America today are the phlebotomy tech and the medical assistant. When embarking on a new medical career, many students find themselves trying to decide which of these two paths is the right one for them.

Both these roles are essential in modern healthcare. However, they are very different.

When you’re evaluating your options for launching a lucrative and fulfilling medical career, it’s a good idea to give both roles a close look. So – which one is which? What do they actually do all day long? And which one might be the right selection for you?

Let’s take a closer look and compare the two.

What Does a Phlebotomy Technician Do?

A phlebotomy technician occupies one of the most vital roles in any medical team. He or she is responsible for taking blood samples from patients and sending samples to the right destination.

That means not only taking the blood sample, but also labeling it and handling it correctly. A small mistake can mean that the sample becomes ruined or the blood test results are inaccurate.

The phlebotomy technician learns a great deal about anatomy. It’s important to understand the best way to take blood in an efficient and painless way, finding the patient’s vein quickly. Once the sample is taken, information about it must be logged and it must be prepared for transport.

There’s one thing about the phlebotomy tech role that shouldn’t be overlooked: It is very public. In a typical day, you may see hundreds of patients. Some of them will have no problem with the procedure, while others may be very worried. Helping them stay comfortable is crucial.

Although a phlebotomy technician might see each patient for less than five minutes, people will remember their experience. It may color how they think about the medical practice or hospital. With that in mind, it’s essential to bring good people-handling skills to the job.

Clinical Medical Assistant Duties

A medical assistant can have a wide variety of duties. Everything they do contributes to the smooth running of the medical facility and the best performance possible from the physicians.

Most medical assistants specialize either in medical office administration or clinical skills. Those focusing on administration are responsible for welcoming patients, maintaining medical records, coding and filling out forms, and arranging for supplemental patient services, like lab tests.

An administrative focus is great for those who want to understand how a medical practice works as an organization. Those who are more interested in medical care tend to focus on clinical skills. Here, they work directly with doctors and nurses every day.

Common clinical medical assistant duties include taking medical histories, helping patients to understand their treatment plans, preparing patients for a doctor’s examination, helping doctors to perform examinations, and collecting samples or performing basic laboratory work.

Medical assistants can also prepare and administer medication under a physician’s supervision and help patients route their prescription refills to the right locations. They may learn to take blood and perform electrocardiogram testing for patients as well.

A clinical medical assistant receives a broad understanding of caring for and managing patients. This can be helpful for those who wish to continue their education and develop further skills in the medical field. That said, being a medical assistant is an enriching career all on its own.

No matter what healthcare field interests you the most, it all begins with the right education. To find out more or get started on your path to a career in healthcare, contact us today. We look forward to helping you jump start a new career today!