Phlebotomists play one of the key roles in healthcare. Yet, many people still don’t realise that the person who draws their blood for laboratory tests and procedures is called a phlebotomist. Some nurses will also work in this role but it remains a health career that requires specialised training. A phlebotomist is the healthcare professional who, through an accredited training and after gaining a certification, is instructed and educated on how to draw blood from patients in order to make some testing or for clinical purposes. With other words, phlebotomy is described as being the process in which a needle is introduced into a vein to draw blood by making a small incision.
Phlebotomists are specialist clinical support workers who take blood samples from patients (usually in hospital or GP Practices) for testing in laboratories. The results of the tests are an important way of diagnosing illness.
As a phlebotomist, your duties would include:
- explaining the procedure to patients
- reassuring patients if they are nervous or distressed
- inserting a hypodermic needle into the vein and drawing off the blood into a tube
- applying a dressing to the puncture made by the needle
- labelling the blood sample
- delivering the sample to the correct laboratory within required timescales
- completing records and entering data on a computer.
At all stages you would follow set procedures carefully so that samples are not contaminated or mixed up.
You could work with babies, adults and older people, with a wide range of conditions. You would need to follow the appropriate procedure for each type of patient you work with.
Full-time phlebotomists can earn between £15,251 to £17,978 a year or more.