While drawing blood is the most important part of a phlebotomist’s work, it is not the only duty expected of a phlebotomist in the normal course of the job. It’s important to familiarize yourself with the different responsibilities that you will have as a phlebotomist in order to prepare yourself for learning the profession and discharging your duties responsibly. Here are some of the duties that will be expected of you as a phlebotomist:
This is, simply put, the insertion of a needle into a patient’s vein, usually for the purpose of extracting blood for laboratory analysis. You must become proficient at this task and be able to perform it in as painless and efficient a manner as possible. You will be expected to find veins on the patient’s arms or other parts of the body, insert needles into them without excessive bleeding or scarring, and withdraw blood through the needles into sample tubes. You should be able to do this while putting the patient at ease and reassuring them that the task is routine.
Once the needle is inserted, blood must be withdrawn through it into one or more sample tubes. If, for some reason, the vein into which the needle has been inserted proves incapable of providing enough blood for the samples, you must identify a new site from which to withdraw blood and continue with sample collection.
It is important that each sample of blood taken from a patient or blood donor be identified according to donor and purpose of the sample. If the sample is not labeled correctly, misdiagnosis may result, or the sample may need to be taken again.
Routing Samples to the Laboratory
Once samples have been taken, they will usually be sent to the laboratory for testing. This requires proper documentation procedures so that all samples will be identifiable and instructions will be available specifying what tests are to be performed on the blood. In addition to these duties, the phlebotomist will also be expected to observe proper safety procedures and to interact well with both patients and other members of the clinic or laboratory staff.