A phlebotomist is a professional who specializes in drawing blood for various purposes such as lab tests and blood donations. Mostly, physicians and nurses don't perform this act of drawing blood from patients, as almost all of the clinics and hospitals will be having a phlebotomist to take care of that. A phlebotomist usually collects blood from patients by making a puncture in their vein. This process is called phlebotomy and it's also called blood draw or venesection. This process of making venal puncture is meant only for collecting a considerable amount of blood for testing or for blood transfusion. In case of collecting small quantities of blood, phlebotomists usually go for a finger prick. A finger prick is used to collect small amount of blood from the patient's body, usually a few droplets. The usual procedure is to make a small opening in the thumb of the patient and collect a few drops into a capillary. This process is very quick and is done only in the case of babies and elders. In case of newborns, phlebotomists go for heel pricks which do not cause any damage on the skin, as the newborn babies are very small.
Phlebotomists don't usually give intravenous, intramuscular, or subcutaneous injections. Also, they do not administer intravenous drugs or any other kinds of fluids for patients. As these things do not come under their expertise, trained nurses or physicians usually perform these tasks. However, they collect urine and other bodily fluids to perform urine test, stools test, and other similar tests.
The qualification and education of phlebotomists differ from country to country. For example, in the UK, a phlebotomist need not have any certification or license, as he only needs to undergo training, which is often given on the job. In New Zealand, a phlebotomist is required to have a high school certificate along with a First Aid certificate, as other skills are taught on the job. In Australia, they need to take a course called Cert III Phlebotomy, which is a course accredited nationally. In the United States, the requirements for a phlebotomist differ from state to state.
During their education program or on the job training, phlebotomists are trained in various skills including but not limited to blood drawing techniques, anatomy, precautions and safety measures to be followed, legal aspects of phlebotomy, patient interaction, universal standards in phlebotomy, and basic first aid instructions. Sometimes, they also get properly trained in cardiopulmonary resuscitation. Students who wish to become a phlebotomist can join classes run by various organizations like The American Heart Association, American Red Cross, and Medic First Aid Organization. They can also get trained in a community college, career center, or trade school. After the training and certification part, phlebotomists usually get paid well and there is a demand for highly skilled phlebotomists in the medical industry. There are a number of sources of information available regarding phlebotomist training and education. You can check out the organizations given above which are actively involved in phlebotomist training and get the necessary details or you can check out the online sources in the internet, which are highly informative.