According to Data USA, phlebotomy career prospects should grow by 17.3% within the next 10 years.
Apart from good prospects, these jobs also offer flexible hours, low training costs, and a variety of work options. Hospitals, laboratories, urgent care centers, and doctors’ offices all use phlebotomists’ services.
Are you considering embarking on this excellent career path? Keep reading to discover the phlebotomy skills that can ensure you snag the top jobs in this field.
How to Become a Phlebotomist
Anyone wishing to embark on a medically-related career requires some formal training.
Most phlebotomists complete certification courses. These teach them about necessary medical and administrative procedures required in the field.
Others complete an associate or healthcare degree in a related field.
You need a high school diploma to start studying toward a phlebotomy qualification. You can also sign up for a course if you have your GED certificate.
Formal training takes between four and eight months of studying.
You must enroll in an accredited vocational school to complete a phlebotomy course. Some options include this company, private colleges, or community colleges.
These general phlebotomy courses include topics like:
- Medical terminology
- Infection control
- Specimen handling and processing
- Procedures for venipuncture
- Correct methods for capillary collections
- Data management procedures
- Medical ethics
- Laboratory safety
Once you pass your course, you’ll receive a certificate. After that, you need to undergo work experience to complete your education.
This usually takes place in clinics, private practices, or hospitals. These institutions help them improve their skills and develop good work habits.
New phlebotomists work closely with experienced mentors during this phase. Mentors help them master the finer details, like communication skills and sample management.
Once you’ve completed your practical work, you can sign up for the two-hour NHA CPT examination. Candidates must score 390 points or more to pass this test.
If you succeed, you’ll receive your official phlebotomy certification.
All phlebotomists should embark on continuing education programs once they’ve achieved their certification.
Key Phlebotomy Skills
As a clinical phlebotomist, your main task is to collect blood samples from patients. Afterward, you must label and store them correctly.
During your studies, you’ll learn how to offer your patients the best possible care. This involves expanding your knowledge and experience in the following areas:
Phlebotomists provide blood samples for use in healthcare settings. These samples give doctors and nurses vital information for diagnosing and treating patients.
To fulfill this important role, phlebotomists must know how to:
- Check patients’ vital signs
- Track blood flow
- Insert the correct medical equipment
- Respond correctly to side effects like nausea or fainting
- Handle and process specimens
- Document procedures and patient information
- Collect samples correctly without causing the patient discomfort
- Assembling and maintaining medical instruments
Phlebotomists spend a lot of time entering information into the facility’s database. They must familiarize themselves with the following basic data entry tasks:
- Recording patient data on the database
- Checking patient data for accuracy
- Verifying patients’ insurance details
Apart from the technical know-how, you also need some soft skills to succeed in this career. These include:
Being a Flexible Team Player
Phlebotomists work as part of a medical team as well as deal with patients. You need people skills and patience to cope with the demands of a stressful medical environment.
Multitasking is part of the job to ensure the highest standards of patient care. Doctors and nurses rely on blood test results to make decisions about the patient’s welfare.
Phlebotomists might face tight deadlines and many requests within a short time frame.
Compassion and Empathy
In many instances, patients are going through stressful or worrying situations when they have their blood drawn. Other patients are genuinely terrified of needles.
A good phlebotomist understands these concerns and must learn ways to put these people at ease. These include:
- Reassuring patients by explaining the process
- Keeping them calm during the blood drawing process
- Making them feel as comfortable as possible
- Tactics, like small talk, to distract them from the blood collection procedure
The ability to communicate effectively and calmly with patients and co-workers is vital. Phlebotomists must foster trust and understanding with patients.
They also need to share important information with other medical personnel.
Some key communication areas in phlebotomy include:
- Helping patients feel comfortable and at ease
- Creating an environment where they can ask questions freely
- Listening to patients’ concerns
All medical professionals must understand and embrace the need for discretion. This is especially important when sharing and storing patient information.
Phlebotomists are bound to encounter disgruntled patients at times. Good communication skills can help turn these situations around.
High Attention to Detail
Phlebotomists need to label vials of blood carefully and keep track of them. Losing, mislabelling, or misplacing a sample isn’t an option in this field.
These professionals need to practice a high degree of organization in their workplace. They must keep track of many details simultaneously.
Good Hand-Eye Coordination
Drawing blood samples is a highly detailed task and you’ll need to do it all day long. There’s no room for error or distractions while performing this task.
Phlebotomists need a steady hand. One slip could cause your patient considerable pain and even trauma.
Fine-Tuning Your Phlebotomist Resume
Phlebotomy work comprises a lot of hard work and many responsibilities. It offers a high degree of satisfaction if you have the right mindset and skills for the work involved.
The top jobs also offer good pay, flexible hours, and excellent benefits, too.
When applying for phlebotomy jobs, listing your qualifications and work experience isn’t enough. Be sure to inform prospective employers about your extra phlebotomy skills, too.
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