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Looking Into What a Phlebotomist Does

BY: Maya Philippines | Category: Careers | Submitted: 2011-01-20 11:24:56
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Article Summary: "Simply put, a phlebotomist is medical personnel trained to draw blood from patients. While this may sound easy, the job description of phlebotomists doesn't end at the tip of the syringe..."


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Simply put, a phlebotomist is medical personnel trained to draw blood from patients. It is a learned skill by doctors, laboratory assistants, medical scientists and almost all health professionals. Most hospitals, however, prefer to hire certified phlebotomists to focus on blood collection. While this may sound easy, the job description of phlebotomists doesn't end at the tip of the syringe.

There is more to just collecting blood from patients to phlebotomy service. A phlebotomist has a bunch of other responsibilities and this job is far more complicated and important than one could imagine from a short description. Besides drawing blood from patients, phlebotomists also administrate the blood samples and label them for the laboratory tests. Part of the job of a phlebotomist is to make sure that after the sample is collected this is correctly labeled. Information regarding the patient is used for labeling in order for easily identifying the samples. Accuracy is very important as there is a lot of blood samples that a phlebotomist has to took care of. A simple mistake labeling mistake on a blood sample may lead to a disaster on other people's lives.

The phlebotomist also has to do some paperwork in order to be able to trace the sample at any point from the moment when it was collected until it reaches the laboratory and then is sent back. The proper disposal of the blood is also in the phlebotomist responsibility. It is highly important that no errors occur in this process because they can have dangerous consequences that can include even contamination with fatal diseases. Phlebotomists that work in hospitals are also employed to train new phlebotomists in order to minimize the workload of blood collection.

Working with human blood also implies some risks because phlebotomists can be exposed to blood diseases and can easily get contaminated. They have a great responsibility in what concerns their safety and other people's safety too. Phlebotomy services imply the fact that phlebotomists collect blood samples from patients under the direct supervision of a doctor or of another person that is licensed in health care. It is compulsory that before doing this the phlebotomist makes sure the environment as well as the tools he uses in the process is sterile.

Phlebotomists that make home visits have an extra responsibility because they have to safely transport the sample from the patients' house to the laboratory. Sometimes phlebotomists are also involved in processing blood samples for further testes. This is usually done under the supervision of medical professionals because it also needs a lot of caution. Those working in laboratories have the duty of making sure that the samples are correctly analyzed and that there is no contamination risk.

In order to be able to perform phlebotomy services one has to do a one year program in a technical school or a college. Associate's degrees in phlebotomy are also available for those interested and they are offered by most of the community colleges. In some states it is compulsory to license or register before becoming a certified phlebotomist.

It is said that in 2012 there will be an increase in the demand for phlebotomy services. For the time being, a phlebotomist can earn between $20,000 and $48,000 a year depending on his or hers experience and on the employer. If the demand in phlebotomy services will increase this can lead to employers that ask for pre-certification of the phlebotomist they hire.

Due to the fact that phlebotomy services are not mostly required in emergency cases, phlebotomists usually work normal hours. This does not happen in what concerns other medical professions that usually do a lot of extra hours because of emergencies that occur.

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