A phlebotomist is a professional medical specialist who draws blood from patients for the purpose of testing. Nurses typically are responsible for drawing blood in an office or other health care facility, but additional staff trained in phlebotomy is also hired for the task.
Becoming a phlebotomist is a skill that can be learned in a short training period, and is a good way for someone to find out if they have the necessary skills and stamina, not to mention stomach, for a career in the medical profession. Working as a phlebotomist while attending medical school is a good way to get your foot in the door before school is even completed.
The phlebotomy certification process is a bench mark standard that recognizes the competence of a person who meets or surpasses the bench mark through a standard testing system in a specific field or discipline. It is demonstrating that the minimum standard work can be achieved on a regular basis. As the career field becomes more competitive, employers are relying on the certifications to serve as a minimum requirement when evaluating potential employees.
The phlebotomist is a person who practices phlebotomy. They are in charge of drawing blood for further testing and then making sure the blood sample gets to the lab in the proper container and in a timely and safe manner. The phlebotomist does not analyze the blood.
Phlebotomy Training Course
To become a certified phlebotomist, the student must complete and pass a phlebotomy course. The phlebotomy course can take as little as 4 months to 24 months, depending on the classes involved. The shorter phlebotomy programs are typically found at vocational training schools that offer classes in Allied Health. The longer programs are typically Associate Degree programs offered through community colleges and some 4 year colleges and universities.
The class work for either program involves anatomy, blood drawing techniques and lab procedures. There are also clinical, hands on, opportunities to complete the necessary training.
Upon graduation from a phlebotomy program, the student can then qualify for the certification exam and acquire the official title of certified phlebotomist. A certification is not required in all states to work as a phlebotomist; a certification implies a certain level of knowledge and competence. A certification is also the bench mark employers hold as the standard when considering candidates for the job.
In addition to adequate training and expertise in blood drawing, the candidate for certification must be comfortable dealing with people, especially difficult and cranky people. The candidate must be able to draw the right quantity of blood through the appropriate puncture point without causing unnecessary pain and damage to the patient’s skin and veins. The phlebotomist must know the proper procedure for storing and transporting blood and the time frames involved for the different types of testing to be done.
A phlebotomist can be a stepping to other areas of medicine such as hematology and the analyzing of blood and the associated blood diseases. It is a career that will continue to see a demand for qualified and experienced phlebotomy technicians.