Phlebotomist Job Description
Phlebotomists draw blood from individuals for diagnostic, donation or transfusion purposes. They also test blood specimens or samples they have drawn. In cases where blood specimens must be submitted to labs for analysis, Phlebotomists are responsible for labeling vials and arranging shipment of samples. Phlebotomists also maintain records of blood drawings and generate reports to submit to physicians and other healthcare professionals.
Phlebotomists typically work in clinical labs, physician’s offices, hospitals or even ambulatory services. As reported by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), Phlebotomists are expected to see a 24 percent employment growth rate through 2024. The ongoing demand for diagnostic blood specimens and an expected continuance of blood donations are believed to be the main factors in this projected growth rate.
Phlebotomist Duties and Responsibilities
We analyzed several job listings for Phlebotomists and found the following duties and responsibilities to be among those commonly mentioned in relation to this occupation.
Draw Blood Specimens
In their main role, Phlebotomists extract blood from patients or clients. They must select gauge needles, prepare veins to draw blood, assess patient needs and review patient history and reasons for drawing blood.
Test Blood Samples
In some cases, Phlebotomists might be responsible for analyzing specimens. They must be knowledgeable about testing protocols and the use of testing equipment.
Phlebotomists are responsible for cleaning, maintaining and calibrating lab equipment used in the drawing and testing of blood specimens. They might create maintenance schedule and order supplies as needed.
Prepare Specimens for Shipment
In cases where blood specimens must be sent to labs for testing, Phlebotomists are responsible for preparing these specimens for shipment. This includes labeling vials, matching blood samples to patients and selecting the best shipping methods.
Generate Lab Reports
Once blood has been drawn and analyzed, Phlebotomists create reports on their findings to doctors or hospitals. They supply diagnostic notes and keep records of patient names, amount of blood drawn and diagnostic findings.
Successful Phlebotomists most often display exceptional communication, listening and customer service skills and possess the ability to work with a diverse public body as well as a variety of professionals, such as doctors, nurses, medical assistants and laboratory technicians. They should be independent workers with excellent eye-hand coordination and dexterity. Attention to detail is crucial, as Phlebotomists are responsible for ensuring that the correct patient names appear on the right blood samples and reports match with the right patient and diagnosis. In addition to these abilities, Phlebotomists should possess the following skills:
- Drawing blood from patients.
- Analyzing specimens.
- Preparing specimens for shipment to labs.
- Generating reports for physicians and other healthcare professionals.
Phlebotomist Tools of the Trade
Phlebotomists use various tools to complete their job tasks. Should you be interested in becoming a Phlebotomist, you should know the following:
Blood collection tools – from vacuum collection needles to collection vials, Phlebotomists must be knowledgeable about all of the items needed to successfully draw, store and ship blood collections.
Electronic records management – it is helpful for Phlebotomists to be familiar with health records software to generate and maintain patient reports and diagnoses.
Medical terminology – Phlebotomists should be familiar medical terms and their meanings to create reports and communicate with doctors and nurses.
Phlebotomist Education and Training
Phlebotomists can receive training on-the-job or through a one-year certificate program offered through community or technical colleges. These programs typically include lab work as well as hands-on training. Voluntary Phlebotomy Technician certifications are offered through some professional organizations, such as the American Society for Clinical Pathology and American Medical Technologists. Some states may require certification.
According to the most recent statistics provided by the BLS, Phlebotomists are paid a median annual salary of $32,710; those in the top ten percentile of this profession can earn as much as $46,850 per year. The highest salaries are seen by Phlebotomists working for outpatient care centers and ambulatory health services. The highest wages are seen by professionals working in the northeastern and western U.S. states. Phlebotomists in California realize the highest annual mean wage in the country ($41,360), followed by Alaska ($40,670) and the District of Columbia ($40,600).
Below, you will find several resources that will help you better understand the job duties and responsibilities of Phlebotomists. Follow these links to learn more about books, blogs and professional organizations that provide more details about what is involved in becoming and working as a Phlebotomist.
American Society of Phlebotomy Technicians, Inc. (ASPT) – From conferences to certification preparation, ASPT offers professional development support for Phlebotomists.
National Phlebotomy Association – Established in 1978, this association offers Phlebotomists the opportunity to prepare for certification and participate in continuing education activities.
E Phlebotomy Training – A blog exploring best practices, educational requirements, reviews of equipment and more for current and aspiring Phlebotomists.
Phlebotomy Essentials 5th Edition by Ruth E. McCall and Cathee M. Tankersley – Addressing phlebotomy procedures and theories, this book sheds light on standards and guidelines relevant to the field of phlebotomy.
Phlebotomy Notes: Pocket Guide to Blood Collection (Davis’s Notes) by Susan King Strasinger and Marjorie Schaub Di Lorenzo – Through illustrations and easy-to-follow instructions, this book provides insight into blood collections, storing and shipping processes.
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