01 5 / 2012
Every so often I am questioned about what my career is as of now, while I wait for that one special phone call that congradulate’s me that I no longer have to wait for my nursing clinicals. As much as I would LOVE to already tell those questionable people, “oh! I am a Registered Nurse and I work at so & so hospital”. Unfortunately, I have to say, “Well I am going to be a Nurse, however I am on a waitlist for my program & right now as I wait, I am a phlebotomist.” Then it happens. As soon as I say the word, “Phlebotomist” I get that blank look as if I just said a term in our dictionary that doesn’t even fall into place with the English language, or for those who actually know what a phlebotomist is I am questioned, “Why?! Why would you want to do such an awful thing?”
First of all, let me get one thing straight. IT IS NOT AWFUL! (At least I am not the girl who use to be the one serving you greasy burgers and under or overly salted fries at a fast-food joint.)
Second of all, If it wasn’t for phlebotomist, MOST and yes I say MOST, doctor’s and nurses would have no clue what diagnosis their patient’s have. Because of us and what we do, medical professionals are able to calculate and determine, and at times simply see what exactly is wrong with the sick.
So let me explain to you exactley what a phlebotomist is and what we do. As some people may call us, “The vampire’s, or Bloodsuckers”, we are lab geeks :)
Phlebotomy is the study and practice of blood. After a professional training course from either a college/university or sometimes from a hospital, We gain the job of drawing blood using a set of needle’s, tube’s and devices we have (depending on what type of vein’s a person has and what tests we have to collect from the patient) for laboratory testing and procedures, such as blood transfusions or organ donations. For those people who have a phobia to needle’s or easily pass out, please keep in mind that we are very specially trained in that area and we know what exactley to do in those situations.
Among patient’s, we also have to study certain diseases, isolation’s, illnesses, culteral diversities (etc, etc) so that way we are prepared to do our job in any sort of case, and yes we do have our own protection gear. Did you know there are more than 3-4 different type’s of precautions?
On top of blood work, we also do urine & fecal specimen’s, sputum specimen’s, drug monitoring and fun stuff like that! :D
We study the hundred’s and hundred’s of tests that exsist in phlebotomy and how to perform them, and special requirement’s as well. For example some tests have to put on ice, or kept warm or protected from light and we also have to know WHY we do those special requirement’s, therefore we also study the components and aspects of blood & electrolyte’s. We also study what diet’s and medications can alter some of the electrolyte’s and component’s in blood. (I could go on, but you should get the drift). Another part of phlebotomy is we also have to know about glucose and diabete’s and we also have to know about IV’s and the certain things (such as heparin and or saline) that goes threw the IV’s & we have to know about blood thinner’s (medications used to prevent clotting & etc.) On top of IV’s we also have to know about PICC line’s, Cath line’s, and all the other hundred’s of line’s you can see in a patient in a hospital. Oh should I mention we have to know the vein/artery anatomy like the back of our hand???? (Also the heart as well). We also have to know the boring stuff like different organizations and rules. (Ex: tort, Battery, Assault…) FUN!
To keep it simple, We know alot more than you think. It’s not just a drawing blood ordeal.
Another key component of phlebotomy is knowing everything about our equipment and the tube’s we use to take your blood with. No there not just colored for a reason. Certain tube’s for blood work are color coded because they either carry a additive or a gel in them. We have to know everything about each tube, each additive, which tests belongs to which tubes & why and how the additive’s affect’s the blood and why it works the way it does. Believe me. It’s a lot. Please keep in mind that this post is only a small scratch in resemblance as to what phlebotomy is. We work in a lab, doing blood work, on top of computer stuff (yes like verifying the patient’s blood work after we take it to the lab) & knowing different area’s of the lab. There’s more than 5: Blood Bank, Microbiology, Chemistry, Coagulation, Serology/Immunology, (etc…ect..)
However the best thing about phlebotomy is the patient’s. Knowing patient skills and bedside manner make’s the job a WHOLE lot easier, trust me.
Any questions? Trust me, I could go on.
So this is what I am, and this is what I do. I know alot more as well. … and no…Im NOT like Dexter. :D