A Phlebotomist is a professional health care worker who is trained to draw blood. Otherwise known as a Phlebotomy technician, this is a person who draws blood from a patient. A Phlebotomist is trained to insert a needle into a vein, for the purposes of blood testing or some other requirement. A Phlebotomist is also required for the process of donating blood, where blood is drawn from donor’s vein and collected for blood transfusion to another patient. Incidentally, a Phlebotomist is also required to perform the blood transfusion into the recipient’s vein! So when we ask, What does a Phlebotomist do, there is a wide range of different roles and responsibilities!
So a Phlebotomist is an important and professional member of any health care system. A Phlebotomy technician is a prime contributor to the health outcomes of a wide variety of patients. So what does a Phlebotomist do? For example, once a Phlebotomist has performed the blood sampling routine, the testing for all kinds of diseases can take place. Everything from cholesterol levels, sugar levels, kidney and liver function, as well as inflammation and immune function can be tested from the blood samples provided by a Phlebotomist. It could almost be described that a Phlebotomist fulfills the gap between the medical professions and the pathology lab!
Phlebotomist Job Description – a person who draws blood
The process of drawing blood from a patient is known as a venipuncture. This term literally means to make an incision into a vein with a needle. Of course, the incision is no more than a needle stick, and the needle is hollow so that blood can be drawn directly into a blood collection tube. A trained Phlebotomist may be required to draw blood from a wide range of patients, from healthy babies and infants, from blood donors, from sick people, and from elderly patients. The Phlebotomist is also required to do a range of checks to ensure the correctly identify the patient, interpret the blood test required from the patient, and draw the specified blood samples. The blood samples have to be preserved according to the blood sample requirements, depending on the nature of the blood testing, sampling, or donation.
What does a Phlebotomist do – responsibility for patient care
Not only does a trained Phlebotomist have to look after the blood samples, but they need to care for the patient also! A Phlebotomist is required to explain and prepare the patient for the venipuncture procedure. A Phlebotomy technician is also responsible for maintaining first aid care over the patient, to avoid infection, and to control any excess bleeding. After all, not all patients like having a blood sample, so the Phlebotomist may even have to relax the patient during the procedure. Finally, the Phlebotomist is responsible for ensuring that the blood samples are correctly labelled and delivered to the required blood testing laboratory.
What does a Phlebotomist do – Job Duties
The duties of a trained Phlebotomist can be variable and wide ranging. Obviously, the primary task is to perform the venipuncture procedure on the patient. The important factor in the responsibility of a Phlebotomy technician is to bridge the gap between the requirements of the doctor, and the testing to be conducted at the pathology lab. Here is a list of the responsibilities required to be undertaken by a professional Phlebotomist.
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Phlebotomist Duties when a patient arrives for blood tests:
- The Phlebotomist must correctly identify the patient
- Correctly identify the blood tests prescribed by the Doctor
- Prepare the complete range of blood sampling equipment
- Maintain correct labeling and records keeping
- Assess the patient in terms of how to minimize stress and anxiety
- Prepare the site of the venipuncture procedure
- Maintain patient hygiene and infection control practices
- Control excess bleeding
- Work quickly and efficiently to avoid any patient discomfort during the procedure
- Relax and reassure the patient where necessary
- Be professional, courteous and sympathetic with patients
- Maintain accurate record keeping
- Establish good communications with pathology
- Deliver the blood samples to the appropriate blood testing laboratory
- Self manage the pace of drawing blood from a large number of patients each day
Phlebotomy Skills for a Professional Phlebotomist
In many countries, the skills to become a Phlebotomist are learnt on the job. But increasingly, there is an expectation that a professional Phlebotomist should be fully trained before practicing in a patient environment. In general, you may be required to undertake a phlebotomy training course to learn the theory and practice of a professional Phlebotomist. Clinical training should still be undertaken once you reach the clinician level, under the supervision of a fully training Phlebotomist, or Doctor. So what does a Phlebotomist do? Once Phlebotomy training has been completed, you should expect to receive certification enabling you to work as a Phlebotomist. A fully trained Phlebotomist can work in a wide range of medical facilities such as a hospital, clinic, pathology lab, or even a private medical laboratory.
Are you cut out to work as a Phlebotomist?
When you complete Phlebotomy training, you can expect to draw blood from a large number of patients on a daily basis. What does a Phlebotomist do? – you will get to meet and work with a large number of people throughout the day. It is expected that you will need to reassure people that you are a competent professional at your work. It is important to meet the standards expected of a health care professional and also to meet the expectations of patients. Nevertheless, the role of a Phlebotomist is right at the front line of medical care, and it can be both a challenging and rewarding career to choose.