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Health Careers Blog

What is Phlebotomy?

Cristina Anzellotti - Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Phlebotomists are practitioners who are trained to extract or draw blood samples/specimens from their patients and send to send these drawn samples to the laboratory for appropriate preparation and eventual testing. This procedure is called a venipuncture. Phlebotomy practitioners are one of the usual members of a clinical laboratory team. Apart from drawing blood samples, they are also sometimes tasked with the analysis and testing of these samples and forwarding the results to the physicians for appropriate patient diagnosis.

The past few years have seen the increase in the number of people practicing phlebotomy. The rise in the number of professionals practicing phlebotomy have resulted due to the emergence of new diagnostic procedures and techniques, introduction of new laboratory technology and equipment and also the rise in the need for increased laboratory testing necessary for diagnosis of different patient conditions.

Phlebotomist trainingPrior to their employment, phlebotomists require training and a certification course to earn their licenses to practice. This training and certification program is a necessary requirement for phlebotomy practice in most states, and just like the typical professional licenses, they are renewable after a set time period. Certain training programs maybe provided online but the best benefits come from actual face-to-face training as these simulate real life situations where the candidates may work on in the future. Trainings are usually offered by technical or vocational schools or even in some universities and colleges.

Usual training programs lasts for a range of 10 weeks to a little over 2 years, and are depending on the need and the degree a candidate is opting for. The time period mostly covers theoretical aspects of phlebotomy and the practical application of these theories. There are also options for full-time studying and a part-time schedule where students taking the course may schedule phlebotomy training classes in between their work schedules. Moreover, some of those availing training may also be granted a part-time employment status by some facilities that provide trainings.

Whatever training program one gets into, it is necessary for phlebotomists to learn how to approach patients correctly because of the anxiety that these patients feel prior to the drawing of a blood sample. Competence in performance of the job and a relaxed, non-hurried manner in drawing the samples will go a long way for the career of a future phlebotomist.

Cristina Anzellotti