How to Become an Phlebotomy Tech for Children – Phlebotomy Technician Specialist. Phlebotomy, or the science of collecting blood by making an incision in a vein or puncturing a finger or heel, is a broad field such that specializations occur. In the same manner that other allied health professions are also further subdivided into more specific categories, like geriatric or pediatric nursing or obstetric sonography, so is phlebotomy. Those who are already in the field and are wondering how to become an phlebotomy tech for children – phlebotomy technician specialist, they may want to understand that acquisition of technical skills is not necessarily the emphasis for pediatric phlebotomy as much as having patience and social skills.
There is significant difference between a phlebotomist for adult patients and a phlebotomist for infants or young children. For example, collecting blood from adult patients often requires venipuncture (an incision in the vein), whereas collecting blood from younger patients and infants only require finger or heel prick. The challenge however is not in the process of specimen collection, but in the psychology of the patient. An adult is easily eased into what otherwise is an uncomfortable (and even traumatic) process, while children are often scared of the entire procedure and of the prospect of experiencing pain while the procedure is performed. This means that pediatric phlebotomists have to deal with resistant movements from patients, making it that more difficult to locate the right area to draw blood from.
Hospitals with large pediatric or neonatal units may require that their phlebotomists specialize in young patient care. However, this may rarely be the case. Even in such settings, a phlebotomist may be more of a generalist, collecting blood from patients of all ages. Hence, it is important to be equally flexible as each age group has special needs and differing attitude towards needles.
Moreover, a phlebotomist who is well-trained in handling adult and young patients may find it easy to transition from one employer to another as most of these employers very rarely focus on pediatric or neonatal care alone. While it helps to be accommodating with young patients, it is to the advantage of the professional to be equally skilled in handling adult patients.
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Such skills are acquired through continuing education as required by certifying agencies. A practicing professional may want to undergo training for all age groups since employers may want specific training in a certain area. Although accrediting bodies like the National Phlebotomy Association (NPA), American Society of Phlebotomy Technicians (ASPT) and American Society for Clinical Pathology (ASCP) only issue a ‘general practice’ certificate, those who want to learn how to become an phlebotomy tech for children – phlebotomy technician specialist can earn citation in pediatric/neonatal care, as this is usually awarded to those who have completed the corresponding program.