The medical profession has many fields of specialization, which have been increasing steadily over the years. This phenomenon has been attributed to advanced medical technologies, which have paved the way for new careers in the profession. It is therefore no surprise that the healthcare industry offers the most employment opportunities.
One of the specialities in the medical profession is phlebotomy. This involves the collection of blood specimens, for the purpose of diagnosing and monitoring medical conditions. A phlebotomist is a trained professional who specializes in collecting blood specimens from patients for laboratory analysis. He or she does this through a procedure known as venipuncture, whereby your vein is surgically punctured in order to draw blood.
The phlebotomist plays an important role in patient care, since the quality of laboratory tests can only be as good as the specimen obtained. They have several other functions in the medical profession, which will be discussed in this article in detail. This will only not only help you to understand their role, but also what to expect if you aspire for such a career.
As a phlebotomist, you will be responsible for drawing the appropriate amounts of blood, depending on the tests that need to be performed. To begin with, all the instruments used in this procedure must be sterilized to avoid contamination. Proper care of the blood samples collected is also critical, since each sample requires different testing methods. You also need to correctly identify the patients and their samples, while also ensuring that all information on specific lab orders has been accurately recorded.
This involves the paperwork that can be utilized in tracing the sample’s progress, beginning with the collection point to its final diagnosis. You are also supposed to ensure that the samples are properly disposed of once the lab tests have been completed. Any errors on your part as a phlebotomist can have tragic consequences, owing to issues such as fatal contamination or misdiagnosis. The other function you will have to accomplish is to draw blood from donors for a hospital’s blood bank. This is mainly done during emergencies or when there is a blood shortage in the hospital. The role of a phlebotomist also extends to clerical duties, such as data entry and billing.
In addition to the educational requirements, phlebotomy also requires you to have certain qualities that may not be learned in class. At the outset, you need to have good communication skills, as well as the ability to make the patients trust you. This is because you will come into contact with many patients on a daily basis, most of whom are not comfortable with having their blood taken.
Such patients may range from the children to the elderly, or the healthy to the critically ill. You need to have the ability to calm agitated patients and relax the young children, so that you can be successful in your role. You also need to communicate to patients what you are doing, while assuring them it will be painless. Your communication skills will not only help you with your patients, but also in your interactions with other healthcare professionals.
Further, you also need to know that though being phlebotomy is not physically demanding, you will spend many hours standing as you work. You may also be required to walk for many hours throughout the day as you are needed. In the hospital environment, a phlebotomist not only draws blood from the lab, but also on patient floors, emergency wards or x-ray departments. At times,you may also be required to travel to nursing facilities or homes to collect blood samples.
In the course of their duties, a person practicing phlebotomy are frequently at risk, owing to contact with patients suffering from infectious blood diseases and infections. They therefore have to adhere to the safety standards of both federal and state agencies. Given the functions of a phlebotomist, this surely is not a career for the faint-hearted. You need to maintain accuracy even when faced with a heavy workload and stressful conditions, which is not easy. This is because the quality of the samples taken determines the accuracy of diagnosis, which is critical to a patient’s treatment. Given that you will play such an important role in patient care, you need to carefully consider all the facts in order to determine whether this is the career for you.