What Is A Phlebotomy Technician?

"I would like to do some kind of work in a clinic or a hospital. I know that’s where most of the jobs are at these days, and I am tired of worrying about where my next paycheck is coming from. I can’t spend much on a degree, though. I just want something where I can maybe get a quick certificate and jump right in. I heard that a phlebotomy technician is one of those types of jobs, but I can’t make heads or tails of that name. Is it the same thing as someone who draws blood, or is it something else? It’s not like an X-ray technician, is it?"

asked by Tristan from Stowe, VT

Despite the “technical” sound of the job title, a phlebotomy technician does not operate technical equipment like an X-ray. You were right the first time. A phlebotomy technician is a medical worker who is responsible for collecting blood samples from patients. Usually this is done by using venipuncture, and sometimes other micro-techniques.

There are a number of different steps to phlebotomy, and the technician is involved with all of them. A Phlebotomy Technician will sterilize the site of the venipuncture and the equipment so that procedure can be safely performed on the patient.

They also reassure the patient if the patient is nervous. Needles and blood are both common apprehensions among patients, especially children. You might also ask the patient for more information about his or her symptoms and prepare that information for the doctor or nurse who will be working with the patient to form a diagnosis.

After the procedure is complete, the phlebotomy technician needs to properly label and store the blood samples gathered for further analysis. You may also analyze the results of the blood test and make recommendations to the doctor or nurse who is taking on the patient’s case.

Phlebotomy technicians are needed in hospitals, clinics, blood banks and laboratories. Job demand for technicians in this field is increasing, and many hospitals have several shifts of technicians throughout the day and night, since technicians are needed at all hours. The wage for the job is not particularly high, since you will only need to undergo minimal training to do this job.

To become a phlebotomy technician, you will need to take courses in CPR, first aid, venipuncture, urinalysis, and other medical techniques. You may then apply for certification and start looking for jobs in the field of phlebotomy.

Since the wage is not very high for this position, you may want to simply consider it as a step along your career journey—a position you can hold while you train to earn a license to become a nurse, physician assistant, or other medical professional.

Career Spotlight: Phlebotomy Technician

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