Phlebotomy is the science of extracting blood from people for the purpose of analyzing the blood or storing the blood for future use for patients who require blood. Doctors often have blood drawn to analyze a person’s health or to have a blood transfusion – taking blood from one person and giving it to another.
Health care professionals, often a nurse or a technician that perform phlebotomy, are called phlebotomists (sometimes they are also referred to as venesectionists). The blood is most often taken from the inside of the elbow in the large vein that you can see by straightening your arm so your palm is up.
Before the phlebotomist draws the blood, they will wipe the area with an antiseptic so the area is sterile. Otherwise you would be susceptible to germs. An elastic band is then tied around your arm. The band is a called a tourniquet, which reduces the blood flow and makes the veins more visible to the phlebotomist – and therefore easier to stick a needle in. The patient then makes a fist which further enhanced the visibility of the veins and the health care professional selects the proper vein and inserts a needle into the vein. They then release the rubber band to encourage normal bold flow. After the required amount of blood is drawn, the needle is withdrawn from the arm. The patient‘s arm is bandaged and the procedure is done.
Many people think that having a phlebotomist draw blood is painful. This is not accurate. A good phlebotomist makes the insertion of the needle totally painless. Often people who look away do not know when the needle was stuck in their arm. It should be a painless procedure.
After a technician draws blood from a patient’s body, the patient may feel dizzy. This is nothing to worry about. A good phlebotomist will try to keep the patient relaxed so they will not be frightened by the procedure. This is especially true in children as the site of a needle going into their arm seems quite scary. But generally a good phlebotomist is trained in this area and all should be fine
Phlebotomists are in Demand
More doctors are requiring blood samples as a general health checkup. Normally anytime a person has a physical a blood sample will be drawn in conjunction with the physical and the blood will be analyzed for health problems. This is called preventive medicine – looking for potential health problems before they become a problem.
This increase in need by the healthcare industry to have blood drawn has increased the need for phlebotomists. A person who completes an 80 to 100 hour class in phlebotomy can get their certification and become a practicing phlebotomist. The salary can generally be expected to be around $15.00 per hour to start, but of course that can vary greatly depending upon what part of the country the phlebotomist is living in. Phlebotomists with more than a year of practice can receive substantially higher pay.
Louisiana and California are the only states that require people who are not doctors, nurses or clinical lab technicians to be certified before getting paid to draw blood. But having a phlebotomy certification proves to all people, including prospective employers and future patients, that you have met the requirements as stated by the various states to become a practicing phlebotomist. This will of course enhance your status as a phlebotomist and make it easier to get employment and professional respect.