Phlebotomy Certification & Training | Phlebotomy Pedia
The Ins and Outs of Phlebotomy
The first time you hear the word “phlebotomy”, it might sound like a mad scientist’s brain removal procedure, or some kind of tongue twister that actors use to warm up before going onstage. In reality, a phlebotomy is the process of creating a surgical puncture in a vein, and is a method used by surgeons in order to draw a patient’s blood with medical needles. Also known as a venipuncture, it plays a crucial role in administering blood transfusions. Once completed, the blood is placed under the study of a physician in order to evaluate the patient’s health. Depending on the results, the blood can then be put to use for another patient needing a blood tranfusion.
The first step in this procedure is for the surgeon to verify the identity of the patient and prep the needed equipment. After this, and of course washing hands and putting on gloves, the surgeon places the patient’s arm on a flat surface and selects an accessible vein located away from the center of the body. The ability to calm and soothe an uneasy patient is a skill that can come in very handy during this part of the procedure, as it can calm nerves and make for a smooth experience all around.
A tourniquet is then applied slightly above the site, the skin is cleaned with an alcohol swab, and the patient is told to clench their hand before the surgeon inserts the needle. As soon as the necessary amount of blood is collected, the surgeon withdraws the needle and removes the tourniquet, and the patient relaxes. The blood sample is then labeled and sent away for testing, and anything contaminated is disposed of quickly. Anyone who has ever donated blood to their local Red Cross is likely already familiar with this type of process, and just like the process of giving blood charitably, a phlebotomy is a surgical method that can help save a life.
The process of phlebotomy is usually one administered by nurses and other general medical staff. Think this might sound like a career you would be interested in pursuing? A certification in phlebotomy could be in your future. In the United States there are currently 10 organizations that provide these types of certification, including the American Society for Clinical Pathology (ASCP), the American Phlebotomy Association (APA), and the National Phlebotomy Association (NPA).
Once certification is received, individuals receive the recognition of competence that can provide a huge advantage when applying for a competitive position. Simply put, in the present economic climate, employers are far less likely to hire someone without a phlebotomy certification, even though only two states in the country legally require the certificate in order to practice the procedure.
Also extremely important along the path to phlebotomy certification is a certain level of social grace. If you are not comfortable in daily interaction with people, and sometimes very difficult people, you may not be comfortable taking blood out of their veins. Sociability is a skill that can only be strengthened through on-the-job training, but a phlebotomy certification will provide vital information about the proper methods of arterial puncturing, including facts about vein location, puncture points, and how to administer a comfortable puncture.
Attending a phlebotomy course at an accredited college is the most highly recommended way to achieve the proper credentials. Such courses can take as long as 4 to 24 months to complete, with the shorter classes offered through vocational schools and the longer made available through community colleges. The curriculum of such classes varies from school to school, but the general syllabuses tend to contain a focus on current lab procedures and blood drawing techniques, as well as gaining a thorough understanding of the human anatomy. After completing the necessary curriculum, certification is officially achieved upon passing a written final examination.
If these types of classes sound like something of interest, conduct an online search to find the closest college in your area offering these types of courses, then look into their prerequisites (many of which include a high school diploma or acceptance examination). If you are a stay-at-home parent, there are several online schools that offer training and certification without even having to leave one’s home or child. This type of curriculum is gaining in popularity, as it allows for complete freedom in scheduling. For an extra boost of experience before applying, look into volunteer positions at local blood clinics. These types of jobs can only make you look better to a school’s admissions office.
Let us pretend the best-case scenario has just occurred. You researched, applied to the college that best suits you, and got in! It may be natural to worry about finances at this point, but in all honesty, this kind of certification will pay for itself, and many states offer options of paying off student loans if a graduate attains employment within their first year out of school.
Phlebotomy training can also be offered in the training for different types of employment fields, nursing being a prime example. Keep an eye out for any classes marked with titles such as Anatomy and Physiology, and anything regarding the sampling and cell composition of blood, as these are classes that contribute extremely helpful knowledge for later on in a phlebotomist career. Also beneficial are classes on proper laboratory safety, quality control, and CPR. Even classes that might not first be thought of, such as legal and computer training, can help boost efficiency in a future job position.
Whether you are contemplating a career change, or looking to brush up on skills that can bolster an already strong career in medicine, enrolling in a phlebotomy training program can open a wide variety of doors for you. With just a few clicks of a mouse, you can find a program with the necessary credentials to get you on your feet and start an exciting new chapter in your life. If interested, start your search today. You have nothing to lose, and a world of information to gain.