What is the difference between nurses and phlebotomists?

Phlebotomy nurseIt can be confusing when you see many different medical professionals walking around a hospital or a medical clinic.  Do you know the difference between a phlebotomist and a phlebotomy nurse?  Medical professionals can all look the same, dressed in similar medical gowns, and carrying similar medical equipment. Sometimes, it can be even more confusing when the medical duties of nurses and phlebotomists might seem to overlap one another.  Depending on the nature of the health care provider, sometimes you might find a nurse attending a wide range of patients, for many different types of ailments.  But a phlebotomist is a trained health care professional, so what is the difference between a phlebotomist and a nurse?

Phlebotomists vs Nurses – what is different?

The similarities are apparent when you look at the two types of professions.  Both Phlebotomy nurses and phlebotomists are health care workers who take of patients in a clinic or hospital environment.  But we really need to take a closer look at the specific roles and responsibilities to discover the difference between a phlebotomist and a nurse. The basic process of taking a blood sample is called venipuncture.  This term literally means to make an incision in a vein, such as inserting a needle for the removal of blood.

Difference between a phlebotomist and a nurse

A phlebotomist is trained specially to draw blood from a patient, for a range of purposes to check on their health, to run tests, or even to donate blood.  However, a nurse is more broadly trained to care for patients who are ill or recovering from illness.  Depending on the training and qualifications of any given nurse, they may be required to draw blood in order to care for a patient.  So a nurse is more broadly trained across many aspects of health care, from diagnosis, to health care, to recovery of the patient.  A phlebotomist is more of a specialist health care practitioner, who is trained in a more limited field of expertise.

A phlebotomist assists in the area of diagnostics

A Phlebotomist is often required to draw blood samples from a patient in order to assist with the diagnosis of illness.  However, there is more to the role of phlebotomist than just taking blood.  All blood samples must be carefully and accurately labelled, correctly identified, and drawn in the correct amounts depending on what blood tests are required for the patient.

A trained phlebotomy nurse can perform a venipuncture, just like a phlebotomist

When required, a trained nurse can also draw blood from patients or assist in administering a drip which also involves a venipuncture procedure.  In an identical procedure that is conducted by a trained phlebotomist, either a nurse or  a phlebotomist may be called upon to prepare a patient for these procedures.

Difference between a nurse and a phlebotomist

The biggest difference between a nurse and a phlebotomist is that nurse training takes much longer, and involves a much broader range of health care duties and medical information.  A phlebotomist is trained in a much narrower and more specialized field of patient health care.

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Advantages and Disadvantages between a nurse and a phlebotomist

There are some advantages and disadvantages in the choice between whether to become a phlebotomist or a nurse.  Obviously the training to be a nurse takes much longer.  The most basic nurse training takes around 2 years, but this can increase up to 3 years to complete the formal training course.  On the other hand, phlebotomy training can be completed in less than one year, and you can be working as a trained medical professional and earning an income.  But nurses do earn considerably more money than a phlebotomist, so you have to trade off training time against the higher salary down the track.

Steps between being a phlebotomist and training to be a nurse

Many health care professionals find that entry into the field of health care may not necessarily happen all at once.  Many people find that phlebotomy training is an ideal entry point into medical health care.  Once they become trained as a phlebotomist, they find opportunities to continue their training and expand into more specialty fields.  With the right aptitude and opportunity, many phlebotomists choose to continue their education and training to become a fully qualified nurse.

Training is the difference between a phlebotomist and a nurse

But of course, these are decisions that belong to the individual, and no two people may have the same experience.  If you are not sure whether you want to become a fully trained nurse, then we find that phlebotomy training is an excellent choice for people that like to care for patients.  The difference between a phlebotomist and a nurse is that you can be trained more quickly and be worked in paid employment sooner.   If you find that you like working with patients in the health care system, you can add more training in the future to become a fully trained nurse, and add onto those important phlebotomy skills.

How to become a Phlebotomist

If you are interested in learning more about phlebotomy training courses – find a phlebotomy training school near you by clicking in our right hand menu!

 

 

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