The primary task for the phlebotomy technician is to draw blood from patients and test subjects. This is usually achieved by inserting a small needle called a butterfly into the vein. Phlebotomy is a skill that takes training and practice. It is usually not difficult to find venous access on a healthy patient. Other types of patients can be more difficult. Intravenous access can be hard to achieve on infants, young children, the elderly, diabetics, and the obese.
The phlebotomy technicians must also draw blood using sterile techniques so that the samples that will be tested are not contaminated. Blood samples are drawn into vials called vacutainers. Vacutainers are color coordinated, and must be drawn in the correct order or the samples will be tainted.
A phlebotomy technician must be concerned with health and safety, and wear P.P.E. or personal protective equipment. Clean hands and gloves are the standard, but in some situations eye protection, gowns, face masks, and respirators will need to be worn to keep the technician and patient safe.
Phlebotomy technicians must also be good record keepers. It is important that each blood sample be recorded accurately in the patient's chart. It is also important that each sample be labeled correctly with the proper patient information.
Phlebotomists must also give good customer service. Phlebotomists give customer service to doctors and nurses by taking good samples in a timely manner. A technician gives good customer service to a patient by causing as little pain and anxiety as possible. It is also important that a phlebotomy technician does the job right on the first try so a patient doesn't have to be stuck with a needle more times than is necessary.
Phlebotomy technicians are able to work in a variety of locations. They can work in doctor's offices, hospitals, clinics, testing and research facilities, and emergency rooms.
Phlebotomy Technician Tasks
- Prepare and process blood tests.
- Draw blood from patients or blood donors for medical testing.