Phlebotomists are healthcare professionals that draw blood samples from patients or facilitate blood transfusion in a clinical setting. In some cases, the phlebotomy technicians might also be in-charge of collecting samples of other bodily fluids and tissue samples. It will involve certain duties that a phlebotomist is expected to fulfil during their shift.
Job description and tasks of a phlebotomy technician
During their shift, a phlebotomist is expected to perform the following assignments for every patient they meet. Training has prepared them what to expect per shift, the standard protocol is basically the same for all patients in most work environments.
- Identify the patient. To make sure that the right patient is collected, phlebotomists have to inquire the patient’s name and date of birth and compare the name on the test request slip, based on the patient’s response. The identification is then validated by checking on what form of identification a patient provides: an armband, medical record number or ID card.
- Obtain and handle the sample. Phlebotomy technicians are skilled in venepuncture techniques but they should make sure it causes the least distress to the patient while following standard operating procedure to prevent contamination and ensure bodily fluids do not pose a risk to their health.
- Implement patient care. Although phlebotomists spend limited time with their patients, they are still expected to provide quality care during their interaction. This meant keeping the patient comfortable, answer their inquiries professionally and keep an eye out for any suspicious or bothersome behaviour from their patients to the physician or nurse in charge.
- Complete the paperwork. Most of the time, phlebotomists must document a lot of paperwork before and after the collection of samples. This is to ensure that there is a trail of documents that can trace the sample should it be contaminated. Labelling and recording specimens are also done after collection. Double checking and validation becomes second nature.
Characteristics every phlebotomist should have
Although their job seems basic enough, they must have a unique set of attributes to do their phlebotomist job description well. Since they see a variety of patients during their shift, they must have these traits naturally.
- Good sense of confidence. Most patients fear needles or even have anything to do with any procedure where blodteristicsod, especially theirs, are involved. A confident phlebotomist performing the procedure will gain their trust especially when they explain what will happen during the extraction.
- Concern for patients. A phlebotomy technician empathises that some people will have different pain thresholds, especially with needle pricks. They should reassure their patients what to expect before, during and after the procedure to alleviate the latter’s fears and anxiety.
- Gentle but precise touch. Techniques in extracting blood vary but every patient will appreciate a phlebotomy technician that can perform it with very little discomfort as possible, while keeping it within protocol standards.
- Grace under pressure. Many patients need to undergo blood extraction for diagnostic procedures which translates to heavier workloads per shift to a phlebotomy technician. Although pressured to perform well for every patient and to keep their equipment sterile and clean, they should be flexible enough to adapt to situations they encounter daily.
- Trustworthy and accurate. Since phlebotomists are also in charge of documenting their blood samples, they should be accurate in recording and trustworthy enough to appreciate the confidentiality of their results.
People who want to pursue a career in phlebotomy should hold a high school diploma and pursue an accredited training course offered by community colleges and vocational schools. Although most states do not require certification, employers prefer to hire phlebotomy technicians to be certified.