Sticking It to You

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I have blood work done often, about every six months or so.  I don’t find the experience especially something I like doing because my veins don’t always cooperate.  If I can find a good phlebotomist that doesn’t use a square needle, I’m usually a happy camper.  I did wonder, though, what kind of training you would need to stick a needle in someone’s arm to draw out blood.  So I did a little investigating.


Just what are phlebotomists anyways?  What do they do?  These are people who are trained in drawing blood and analyzing it for detection, diagnosis and treatment of diseases.  They perform a serious of chemical, biological, microscopic and bacteriological tests on the bloo and provide an accurate diagnosis.  Different jobs include collection and preservation of the blood samples and body fluids for the purpose of analysis.


I learned that the future phlebotomists had to complete training or a certification course.  Some community colleges and technical schools offer this course that can be completed in four to six months.  If you wanted to complete an associate degree in phlebotomy, that can take up to two years.  Some employers prefer applicants who have an associate degree over a certification so that is something you might want to think about.


I also found out that just drawing blood isn’t the only thing that phlebotomy techs do, they also

*verify medical records

*obtain blood samples through venipuncture and micro collection

*conduct patient interviews and obtain medical history

*prepare blood specimens for laboratory analysis

Since the collection of blood can have a high risk factor because of infectious disease such as AIDS and hepatitis, phlebotomy techs follow strict procedures for testing accuracy and safety.  A phlebotomist also has to know medical terminology, custody forms and the drug screening process.


There are a variety of places that you can find a job as a phlebotomy technician such as hospitals, medical and diagnostic labs, physician offices, public health agencies, community health clinics and blood banks.  This profession offers flexible working hours and a good working environment.  It provides an opportunity to develop interpersonal skills and work adaptability because phlebotomists interact directly with the patients in various places such as clinics, hospitals, laboratories, physician office and other health care facilities. Being able to establish excellent rapport with patients and colleagues is a definite benefit on your side.


A phlebotomists’ earnings correspond to their work experience and level of skills.  If you continue your education and take credentialing exams to keep your skills up to date, it can advance your career as well as give you a pay hike. You have to be in touch with what is going on in your field.  According to the Department of Labor, the top paying states for a clinical laboratory technician are Rhode Island, Washington Dc, Connecticut and Delaware.


So if you don’t faint at the sight of blood, have great interpersonal skills, would enjoy working in the medical field and like to be around people, maybe you should give the field of phlebotomy a try!


Are you a phlebotomist? What advice would you give to people who would like this career?





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  • Linda Ruzicka
    Linda Ruzicka
    Harry, thank you for your thoughts!
  • Harry
    I guess I can offer you a neutral adivce.  My mother had asthma and just like you, I had the opportunity at 18 to away to college and study interior design with all expenses paid, yet, I decided to give that up, it's called LOVE.  Although I didn't get the degree I wanted but you know what, my mom died last year.  Now I have all the time in world to pursue all of my dreams but I don't have the one person who always wanted what was best for me, my mother.  I'm relating my experience to you so that you think about things a little.  Life is so fragile, today we are alive, but the next moment is not promised to anyone.  Your mom is afraid because she knows how sick she is, she worries that if something happens to her, what will then become of you.  It isn't so much that she is  trying to hold you back  or that she  isn't happy for you .  She probably is, she just is too sick to help herself as mine was and doesn't want to die because she wants to be there for you.  Think about this.  I can tell you one thing though, once mom dies your whole life changes, yeah you can do anything you want, you're free but, when things in your life don't go well, you also will NOT have mom to listen to you or to say how much she loves you.  I'm glad I was there for my mom, like this I have no regrets.  Take care.
  • Michele (Shelley) W
    Michele (Shelley) W
    I'm a MA but would like to get more practice with blood draws.  Is there a way to do it without going back to college?  
  • Bob F
    Bob F
    I have personal experience in this field.  And anyone either drawing blood or having their blood drawn will agree there is no "text book" (best) way to do so.  The venipuncture tech should foremost OBSERVE successful mentors and gradually implement their technique(s) into a routine that each feels comfortable with.  Don't be reluctant to vary this if you are not meeting with at least a 95% success rate.Time, experience, and people skills will eventually sharpen any dull needles you believe is in your drawing box, and you will find "luck" becomes skill.  
  • Linda Ruzicka
    Linda Ruzicka
    thanks for your comments.  Does anyone know how to obtain financial aid or have any information about online classes?
  • Crystal Fisher
    Crystal Fisher
    I have my CMA and my CNA.  I have experience in phlebotomy and I love it. I find it really rewarding and a job that I could do forever. As to something I can say about this post to make someone want to do this job, well I can say that I have saw a lot of blood draws in my life. We need people who know what they are doing and can put the patient at ease. If the patient is at ease then the draw is easier. If you like to help people, can handle blood, and have a radiating smile, you will be wonderful  at phlebotomy. Try it, you never know what you will like to do until you give it a try!!!!
  • Nadira A
    Nadira A
    For those people who are finding it difficult to find jobs without experience, signing up with medical employment agencies is usually a big help.  The office I work at always get medical assistants from agencies and most of them are straight out of school.  Especially if they are looking for temp.  Each 3-4 weeks in every office adds up.
  • Charita L
    Charita L
    I would like more information on becoming a phlebotomist,as far as how I would obtain financial aid,and doing classes online.
  • Linda Ruzicka
    Linda Ruzicka
    thanks Britteny, that's helpful!
  • Edna B
    Edna B
    Medical Assistants also do these same procedures and more.I have my diploma, and I am continuing with my Associates in Applied Science.Just thought I would let you know this information
  • britteny m
    britteny m
    I was a phlebotomist for about a year. We never did anything but collect blood samples at the hospital and at the outpatient sites. We did not need to go to school and we only went through 3 months of on the job training.. So not all of the people sticking a needle in your arm went to college for this field. Also I worked for a very large business..
  • Linda Ruzicka
    Linda Ruzicka
    Excellent question Miriam!  Does anyone who has a job in this field have advice for her?
  • Miriam O
    Miriam O
    i got my cert and 2 yrs now... no job... no one will hire because no exp. 6 mo of paid exp. how do i get paid exp?
  • Rita C
    Rita C
    I am a Registered Certified Medical Assistant and up until June 30th of this year, had been applying my skills in phlebotomy in a Regional Jail in Portsmouth, VA.  I worked there for 2 years and enjoyed what I did.  If you feel that you can do the job without feeling faint at the sight of blood, go for it. I am presently looking for employment again, because my contract had expired where I was.
  • Linda Ruzicka
    Linda Ruzicka
    Is any one else having a difficult time finding a phlebotomist job? Does anyone have advice on how to get a job without two years experience?
  • Brenda B
    Brenda B
    It would be a great job. I was going to start classes last week and then I realized no one hired you without 2 yrs experience. I'm an EMT now and thought I would add that skill but I see now it would have been a waste of money.
  • Toby R. N
    Toby R. N
    Thank you so much for this information and taking the time to do the research
  • Linda R
    Linda R
    Good advice about listening to your patient! Thanks for your input.
  • Diana S
    Diana S
    I am a Registered Medical Assistant for almost a year now and cannot find a job that will hire me without experience other than 15 months of school.
  • sherri j
    sherri j
    ALWAYS listen to your patient,,,, only they know their body /veins best, and please, please, please, don't be stubborn and determined, sometimes you just have to let go and let someone else give it a try.  Don't wait til you've failed your 10th attempt.  Treat each patient as if that were your child or your mother.   No one likes to be a pin cushion.  Needles HURT!!   LOL,, even the best have to step aside every now and then.  Knowing when to do so,, that's what makes you the best.  
  • Linda Ruzicka
    Linda Ruzicka
    I appreciate the input from both phlebotomists. It's great to hear it from your side.  Thank you for your input!
  • Larry B
    Larry B
     I am a Phlebotomist with 35 years of experience. I am ASCP registered and I have a 4 year degree in Liberal Arts. It has been my experience that everyone is not a good phlebotomist. It takes time to learn just where veins should be located in the arm when they are not obvious to the naked eye. It became more difficult to draw blood with the requirement that all phlebotomist must use gloves. You usually would feel for a pulsing as blood flow through the vein. Then you have to estimate just how far into the skin to go to get blood. I have a very large following of people who would ask for me to draw their blood because of my ability to draw blood successfully and cause no pain. I imagine that it was in my technique because people would always comment that they did not feel a thing. But, keep in mind that I have 35 years of experience.
  • Kathleen R
    Kathleen R
    I have been a phlebotomist for over 10 years. Personally, I have a tendency to faint if I watch my own blood being drawn but have no problem taking it from other people.  First and foremost, make the patient comfortable with your presence.  Put yourself in their position.  I would always tell the person that if they feel faint or might get sick just say so.  That way you can be prepared in advance for the patients sake and your own,
  • Linda Ruzicka
    Linda Ruzicka
    thank you for your input, I appreciate it!
  • Terri C
    Terri C
    I agree I have worked with Insurance companies doing health occupation and testing.
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