Healthcare Career Articles
What Is A Phlebotomist
A phlebotomist is a person trained to work in the health care field. The Phlebotomy Schools are the institutions that instruct individuals on how to be phlebotomists. A phlebotomist usually works in medical offices, clinics and laboratories. His job is to assist doctors and nurses in order to exclusively take care of the blood collection process. Graduates of Phlebotomy Schools, phlebotomists, will discover that this health discipline is performed especially in hospitals and during blood drives.
The term phlebotomy means extraction of blood. The blood extracted is used for transfusions and for doing tests. A phlebotomist that studies in a Phlebotomy School will become a skilled technician prepared to take a blood sample by sterile means and using sterilized instruments.
Because the health care field is growing fast there will always be a great demand for special trained persons capable to work in this field. And so the demand for qualified phlebotomists is increasing. The process of collecting blood is pretty easy. The phlebotomist is doing that by puncturing a vein or a fingertip and in the case of infants by heel stick. A phlebotomist’s job doesn’t consist of administering drugs or fluids intravenously or of giving injections. His tasks could be multiple. A phlebotomist not only collects blood but he also sets up blood tests, collects and tests urine samples. The duties of a phlebotomist don’t end here. He must be qualified to help a patient who may experience an adverse reaction to medications or trauma to recover.
If you want to become a phlebotomist you have to study at a Phlebotomy School. But things weren’t always like that. In the past phlebotomy was a skilled learned on the job, meaning that you could learn it by practicing it. Today, a phlebotomist takes about four months of training in a career center or trade school. For those who want college training they have to take a course of one year. Only some of the Phlebotomy schools offer this course. The training includes an internship in a hospital or clinic setting. In order to participate to such internships a person must have a cardio-pulmonary-resuscitation (CPR) certification. But having a CPR certificate isn’t sufficient. A certified phlebotomist must have good anatomy knowledge and he must know the techniques used for blood collection. Besides, the phlebotomist must have studied safe handling of blood and of other bodily fluids and patient relationships. He has to know and respect the legal aspects of blood collection and the practices that the Universal and Standard Precautions recommend.
If you want to work as a phlebotomist you may need a certification in the phlebotomy field. As a graduate of a Phlebotomy School, if you want a certification you will be strictly examined. The examinations are administered by the American Society of Clinical Pathologists, the American Medical Technologists and the American Association of Medical Personnel. Almost every phlebotomist who has attended a Phlebotomy School is certified. In there is only one state that requires phlebotomy certification, and that’s California.