Phlebotomy is quite a strange word, so it comnes as no surprise that many people are unaware as to what phlebotomy actually is. Phlebotomy is a term used in the medical profession to decribe the process whereby a patient’s blood is drawn and collected by someone licensed to do so (called a phlebotomist). The blood can by used for extensive analysis to help determine someone’s health or can be used in blood transfusions, whereby blood is given by one person (a blood donor) to another. Phlebotomy not only encompasses this process but also has to deal with maintain very high levels of hygiene and accurate, safe and clear storage of the blood for its analytical and transfusion purposes.
The process of phlebotomy (or venipuncture) differs between adults, children and infants. For an adult, the blood is taken by inserting a syringe or needle into a vein the arm near the wrist. Some blood is then drawn out. In the case of babies, phlebotomy is usually carried out by making a small puncture in the heel of the baby and soaks up the blood that comes out. Proper hygiene must be kept so as to prevent any disease from spreading and to maintain complete accuracy so that the results obtained by any blood testing represent faithfully the results which they claim to represent. Accurate labelling is therefore also a very large part of the profession. For these reasons, it is important that phlebotomists have sufficient training in all aspects, and must possess the qualities of attention to detail, patience and trustworthiness. They must be able to prevent the patient from being scared about the venipuncture and be able to keep the patient fairly still so that the venipuncture can go smoothly as planned.
Phlebotomists are employed in the health and medical sector, with main employers being public hospitals, private health companies as well as the government. Renumeration wise, salaries in this area generally range in the mid to high $20’000s per year, although this figure is just a rough estimate. The field of phlebotomy is expected to see improvement in the demand for workers looking into the near future, so employment opportunities look promising.
Whilst in many states in America phlebotomy does not require certification, many phlebotomists still choose to become certified. A number of organisations allow people to become certified, including the National Phlebotomy Association, American Society of Phlebotomy Technicians and the American Society For Clinical Pathology. Phlebotomy certification generally isn’t too costly and provides people with a solid base with which to enter the medical industry with.