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What is a Phlebotomist

If you ever need blood work, there is a good chance that the person performing the blood draw will be a phlebotomist. A phlebotomist, also called a phlebotomy technician, is an allied health professional trained to draw blood for clinical or medical testing, transfusions, blood donations, or research. Phlebotomists perform an essential function within healthcare environments. If you are interested in becoming a phlebotomist, read about Arizona College of Allied Health’s Medical Assisting with Phlebotomy training.

What Does a Phlebotomist Do?

Phlebotomist job responsibilities can vary depending on their work environment and employer. They provide hands-on, direct patient care when performing blood draws. Phlebotomy technicians also perform administrative duties such as labeling specimens, preparing them for further medical testing, and maintaining patient data. Duties commonly performed by phlebotomists include:

  • Greeting customers, receiving written orders from physicians, verifying the identity of the patient, and confirming that medical records are correct
  • Assembling tools and equipment necessary for procedures
  • Briefly explaining procedures to patients to create an environment of trust and comfort
  • Disinfecting areas for blood collection and treating collection areas after the procedure is performed
  • Labeling all tubes used for blood collection
  • Inputting patient information into computer systems
  • Assisting in recovery of patients with adverse reactions to the procedure
  • Performing procedures such as blood draws, finger pricks, or blood culture tests

Phlebotomist Qualifications

To effectively perform their duties, phlebotomy technicians must have a variety of skills and qualifications, including:

  • Technical Aptitude and Attention to Detail
    • Strict protocols must be followed when drawing blood samples. Misidentification or contamination of a specimen can have serious consequences because medical professionals rely on blood test results to diagnose patients and monitor treatment progress.
  • Organizational Skills
    • There are numerous collection devices and equipment. Additionally, each blood collection has a specific purpose. Organization is important to eliminate the possibility of collection error.
  • Fine Motor Skills
    • Phlebotomists need fine motor skills to properly insert a needle into a vein that might be difficult to find and puncture.
  • Good Communication Skills
    • Blood draws are performed on patients of all ages and some may be afraid of needles. The phlebotomist can help reduce patients’ anxiety and keep them calm by explaining what will happen when collecting a sample.

Some phlebotomists chose to take their career one step further by obtaining phlebotomy certification following this training program.

Phlebotomist Work Environments

Phlebotomists can work in a wide variety of healthcare facilities, including:

  • Doctor’s offices – Some doctors contract with laboratory companies to provide phlebotomy services within their office as a convenience for their patients.
  • Hospitals/nursing facilities – Phlebotomists who work in hospitals or nursing facilities make rounds throughout their shift, collecting blood samples from admitted patients or residents as requested by treating physicians.
  • Free-standing outpatient laboratories – Phlebotomists who work in free-standing outpatient laboratories collect specimens from patients who visit the facility with orders from their physician.
  • Blood banks & blood donor centers – Phlebotomists who work at blood banks screen and collect blood specimens from patients who are donating blood.

Phlebotomy Training

Phlebotomists are important members of the healthcare team. If the medical field interests you and you are organized and detail-oriented, then a career in phlebotomy could be a great fit for you! Arizona College of Allied Health’s Medical Assistant with Phlebotomy program prepares you for a career in this healthcare field. Complete a request for information form and our admissions team will be in touch soon.