What is a phlebotomist?
A phlebotomist is a medical professional who is trained to perform blood draws on children and adults. They collect and prepare blood for testing so it can be analyzed in a medical laboratory. They also collect blood for donation.
- Phlebotomists are trained to collect blood samples through:
- Venipuncture (a puncture in your vein).
- Finger pricks, such as for blood sugar tests or to determine blood type.
- Heel pricks, which are specifically for infants.
Blood tests are used to screen for, diagnose, and monitor health conditions. They’re very common and an essential part of medical testing. While other medical professionals, such as nurses, are also trained to draw blood, this is the main part of a phlebotomist’s job. “Phlebotomy” comes from the Greek words “phleb-” and “-tomia,” which mean “vein” and “cutting,” respectively.
What can I expect when getting my blood drawn by a phlebotomist?
- If you have to get your blood drawn for a medical test or are donating blood, you can expect the following:
- The phlebotomist will introduce themselves to you and confirm your identity.
- The phlebotomist will put on gloves and apply a tourniquet (a stretchy band) to your upper arm to slow blood flow.
- They’ll disinfect the area with an alcohol swab and identify which vein they’re going to draw from.
- The phlebotomist will then insert a needle into your vein and attach a vial to the needle to collect a blood sample. They may collect just one vial or multiple depending on which tests your healthcare provider ordered.
- After they’ve collected enough blood, they’ll release the tourniquet and then remove the needle.
- They’ll dispose of the needle and apply pressure with a cotton ball to the affected area to stop the bleeding.
- They’ll apply a bandage to the area, and you’ll be ready to go home.
What does a Phlebotomist do?
A phlebotomist’s main job is to collect blood samples in response to orders issued by healthcare providers or for donation. More specifically, their job includes:
- Preparing people for blood draws may involve putting someone at ease if they’re anxious or have a fear of needles.
- Verifying the identity of the person before performing the blood draw and ensuring proper labeling of collection vials.
- Ensuring that all equipment is properly sanitized before collecting blood.
- Performing blood draws and transfusions for people.
- Assisting people who experience adverse reactions after a blood draw or transfusion.
- Maintaining, tracking, and storing the blood samples for delivery to testing laboratories or blood banks.
- Assisting physicians and other medical professionals.
- Organizing and maintaining blood draw supplies.
Where do Phlebotomists work?
Phlebotomists work in a variety of places, including:
- Clinical Laboratories
- Community health centers.
- Assisted living facilities and nursing homes.
- Doctor’s offices.
- Blood donation centers and blood drives.
- They’re usually supervised by a clinical laboratory technologist or other medical professionals.
What is the average salary of a Phlebotomist?
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average salary for a phlebotomist in the United States in 2021 was $37,380 per year. But it can be more or less depending on where you work and how many hours you work in a week.