What Are the Duties of a Phlebotomist
Although certain careers within the medical field can require years upon years of education, there are some programs that take less than a year that can qualify you for certain positions — for example, a phlebotomy technician. Becoming a phlebotomy technician not only takes less than a year, but you’ll also have plenty of opportunities to secure a job in a number of different settings.
Additionally, this role can provide you with a strong foundation from which you can further pursue a career in the medical field. But what exactly does a phlebotomy tech do? The following are some of the responsibilities you can expect in this line of work:
1. Identifying Patients
This may seem like a simple duty, but it’s one that’s taken incredibly seriously. The first thing you’re responsible for as a phlebotomy tech is making sure you’re working with the right patient. You don’t want to take the wrong samples or run the wrong tests, after all. Before taking any kind of samples, you’ll be required to obtain at least two patient identifiers, such as getting them to say their full name out loud, by presenting their medical band around their wrist, or by showing their driver’s license.
2. Drawing Blood From Patients
Known as venipuncture, drawing blood is the main duty of a phlebotomy tech. You will need to use different syringes and techniques, especially since you may not always be able to draw blood from a patient’s arm if they don’t have the veins that work well for drawing blood.
3. Organizing Blood Samples
As important as it is to safely draw blood from patients, you will also need to organize the samples you take. Every sample needs to be properly sealed and labeled. If this is not properly done, it not only causes a safety risk (you don’t want someone coming in contact with a blood sample due to the vial not being properly sealed), but it can also result in an inaccurate diagnosis for the patient.
4. Following Safety Protocol
Because taking blood samples requires you to put a needle in a patient’s vein, it’s not difficult to understand why safety procedures are so important in phlebotomy. There are many different rules and precautions that you need to know and follow. A lack of care can result in injury to the patient or even to yourself (if you accidentally prick yourself with the needle you just used to draw blood).
5. Engaging with Patients
Obtaining samples from patients may not take a long time, but that doesn’t mean you don’t have to engage with them. You have to know how to speak in a friendly, respectful, and reassuring tone. You will end up dealing with patients who may be afraid of needles or who may get nauseous at the sight of blood. It’s your job to make them feel comfortable and safe.
6. Working Together with Other Medical Staff
Becoming a phlebotomy technician is not a solo occupation. You will be a part of a medical team, especially if you’re working in a private practice, clinic, or hospital. You will have to be able to communicate clearly and work closely with others for the ultimate sake of the patient. For example, if you work in a hospital, you’ll regularly interact with lab staff when you send them samples. It’s good to have a solid relationship with them.
These are some of the common duties a phlebotomy tech is responsible for. If you’re interested pursuing a career in phlebotomy please contact us for more information about our Phlebotomy program.