Medical phlebotomists are members of the medical teams who collect samples of bodily fluids from patients for laboratory analysis for the diagnosis and monitoring of medical conditions. They generally work in hospital laboratories, physician offices, and outpatient laboratories. Medical phlebotomists generally collect blood samples from patients by venipuncture--using a needle to pierce the skin and obtain blood directly from a vein. They do this by first applying a tourniquet to the patient's arm, visually locating a vein, disinfecting the area, and inserting a needle into the vein to draw blood into the collection tube. The medical phlebotomist then properly labels, stores and sometimes transports the sample to the laboratory after collection for processing. They also often enter patient data into the computer at the laboratory for processing.
Medical phlebotomists must have great attention to detail, as they may work with several patient samples at once and must keep them separated and properly labeled. They also practice safety precautions to prevent the potential transmission of infectious diseases. They have good communication skills which they use to both prepare and calm their patients prior to a procedure. Educational programs that range in length from six months to two years provide a certificate or diploma in medical phlebotomy that applicants are required to have. However, most states do not require a license to work as a medical phlebotomist. Employers prefer that applicants obtain national certification as a medical phlebotomist.
Medical Phlebotomist Tasks
- Prepare and process blood tests.
- Draw blood from patients or blood donors for medical testing.