In simple terms, phlebotomy can be defined as the process of puncturing the vein to extract blood or in order to carry out medical examinations on an individual. That explains why it is also called venipuncture because it entails blood extraction and usage for the purpose of blood tests. People who receive phlebotomy training usually work either in the laboratory or hospital. Their aim is to assist or work hand in hand with doctors and nurses. However, phlebotomy as a career has a wide scope.
In the same vein, you may also need to get license or certification, which depends on the needs of the state in which you intend to practice. In addition, it is the National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences or the American Society for Clinical Pathology that is usually charged with the certification of the phlebotomy training programs.
The phlebotomist carries out a number of other duties apart from drawing out patient’s blood. Some other clerical or laboratory duties may be expected of him or her. For example, the phlebotomist may be required to input data entries of patients into the laboratory system. This explains why this expert needs to acquire other skills that will make them relevant for the job. As the intermediary between patient and the lab, the phlebotomist needs to fully understand communication and interpersonal skills. Being able to pacify a patient who is fretful or nervous at the sight of a syringe will make them stand out in the discharge of their duty.
Bear in mind that extracting blood can be a very complicated and delicate process. In fact, it is a kind of microsurgery which requires a phlebotomy training before you can practice the profession. Basic knowledge of human anatomy is very important for you to be able to distinguish a vein from a nerve. You can’t afford to insert the needle on a nerve instead of a superficial vein, without paralyzing the patient’s muscles supplied by that nerve. You must be trained to know the various areas of the body approved as safe for venipuncture before you carry out the process on an individual. You must be precise when carrying out venipuncture because a little mistake on your part can expose the patient to danger. Not only can damage be done to the patient through carelessness or lack of basic training, you yourself can also be subjected to litigation which may land you in jail or your license being revoked, depending on the severity of the case.
Usually, you can expect the phlebotomy training to span between 9 to 24 months. The extensive training period will cover both theoretical and practical aspects of the training. It affords you the opportunity to learn useful areas such as immune mechanisms, personnel administration, data processing, donor processing, general administration and, both collection and storage of blood. Your training will also cover genetics, blood groups and immunology.
Other skills needed by a phlebotomist include being able to give proper attention to minute details, great human relations as well as excellent hand-eye coordination. Great human relations is important since you will need to deal with patients, staff and will be in contact with many people most times.
Depending on the school and program you choose for your training, you may be allowed to take multiple online classes, lasting for a few hours each. Some schools may also provide the option for you to take weekend classes. However, do not forget that the training cost too can also vary depending on the school and the length of your training. In this regard, you may expect to pay between $2,000 to $30,000. After you complete your training and obtain the required qualification, then you can apply and take a test in order to obtain the certification on a national or state level.