What is a Phlebotomist & What Do They Do?

Phlebotomy is the process of drawing blood from the body for physical evaluation, usually by inserting a needle into a vein in the arm. This is also called venipuncture or a blood draw. Typically, blood is drawn into a vial and sent to a laboratory for analysis. Healthcare workers may use these blood samples to figure out what's wrong with a patient or to fill out a diagnosis form.

This blood is sometimes taken from the patient as a treatment for certain health conditions or blood disorders. Therapeutic phlebotomies are used to remove malformed red blood cells or excess iron from the bloodstream. Blood disorders that may necessitate therapeutic phlebotomies include Vera Polycythemia, Late Porphyria Cutanea, Non-Alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease (NAFLD), Hemochromatosis, and Sickle Cell Anemia.

What Exactly is a Phlebotomist?

Phlebotomists collect blood from patients for testing, and it is then analyzed in a medical laboratory. A phlebotomist might also collect blood for a blood bank or get blood ready for a transfusion.

Phlebotomy technicians typically collect blood via venipuncture, but they may also use finger pricks or, if working in pediatric medicine, heel pricks.

Phlebotomists are typically employed in hospitals, blood donation centers, diagnostic labs, clinics, or medical offices. Phlebotomists receive a lot of training on how to keep environments clean, avoid cross-contamination, follow healthcare rules, and protect patients' privacy.

A phlebotomist may perform the following tasks on any given day:

  • Prepare patients for blood collection.
  • If patients are nervous, walk them through the blood draw procedure.
  • Perform blood draws and transfusions on patients.
  • Verify patient identities to ensure proper labeling of blood samples.
  • Keep track of and label patient blood samples.
  • Maintain and organize blood collection equipment.
  • Assist patients experiencing adverse reactions to blood draws or transfusions.
  • Assist doctors and other healthcare professionals.

What Certifications or Degrees Are Required to Work as a Phlebotomist?

Many employers require non-degree diplomas or certificates from an accredited college, university, technical school, or vocational school for candidates seeking phlebotomy positions. Phlebotomy programs are typically less than a year-long and include both classroom and hands-on training.

A recruiter may also prefer applicants to acquire and maintain certification from a certifying organization, such as the National Center for Competency Testing (NCCT), the National Healthcareer Association (NHA), the American Society for Clinical Pathology (ASCP), or the American Medical Technologists Association (AMT). To acquire and maintain your certification with any of these groups, you may need more training or credits for continuing education.

Where Can You Obtain Your Phlebotomists' Certification Online?

Although you can find many online websites that offer certifications, you should always go with a reliable name like Stepful. Stepful helps you get different certifications that boost your career and guarantees job placement. Visit the website to learn more about phlebotomy certification online. 

>> Learn more about Stepful's online phlebotomy program here

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