July 18, 2022

What is a Phlebotomist?

Key Takeaways

  • Phlebotomists are trained to take blood samples from patients for blood tests, transfusions, or donations. Phlebotomists can also handle other specimens, including urine, stool, or hair samples.
  • Phlebotomists are trained to perform blood draws, prepare lab samples, explain procedures and tests to patients, take patient vitals, apply bandages, sterilize work stations, and comfort nervous patients.
  • The basic prerequisite to become a phlebotomist is a high school diploma or equivalent and a phlebotomy technician training program. 
  • Getlabs is growing! If you are interested in a mobile phlebotomy position with a talented, passionate, and driven team - check out the careers page today.

Ever wondered whether the person performing your blood draw was a nurse or a doctor? Would it surprise you if the answer was neither? If you’ve ever had blood drawn, there’s a good chance you’ve encountered a phlebotomist, a medical professional trained in drawing blood and collecting lab samples from patients.

Phlebotomists are a key member of any health care team and work closely with both patients and healthcare providers. In fact, phlebotomists are oftentimes one of the first people a patient interacts with while receiving medical attention. They’re responsible for calming anxious patients, carefully collecting samples for lab testing or donation, and much more.

As such an integral part of the medical community, there’s a lot to learn about phlebotomists. Here’s a breakdown of a phlebotomist’s responsibilities, how to become one, and what skills you need to be successful.

What is a phlebotomist?

Blood tests tell us a lot about your health. That’s why it’s so important to carefully collect, store, and transport blood samples to produce the most accurate results. Phlebotomists are specifically trained in doing just that.

Phlebotomists are trained to take blood samples from patients for blood tests, transfusions, or donations. Phlebotomists can also handle other specimens, including urine, stool, or hair samples.

Most blood samples are taken from veins, but phlebotomists are also trained to take blood samples from other locations, like capillaries, fingers, heels, and ear lobes, if necessary.

What does a phlebotomist do?

Phlebotomists are an important part of any medical team and perform several key functions, including:

  • Blood draws
  • Prepare lab samples
  • Explaining procedures and tests to patients
  • Taking patient vitals like blood pressure, pulse, and respiratory readings
  • Applying bandages
  • Sterilizing work stations and injection sites
  • Comfort nervous or anxious patients

How do you become a phlebotomist?

The basic prerequisite to become a phlebotomist is a high school diploma or equivalent and a phlebotomy technician training program. Unlike a medical degree, which requires years of schooling, the phlebotomist technician training program lasts a few months to a year.

In addition, there is a certification process that can vary in length depending on which organization is certifying the phlebotomist. These organizations include the National Healthcareer Association, American Medical Technologists, and the American Society of Clinical Pathologists. Four states also require special state certifications, including California, Washington, Nevada, and Louisiana.

Most employers also require ongoing training and for phlebotomists to maintain their certification. This may require additional training hours at regular intervals.

What skills do I need to be a phlebotomist?

In addition to the educational requirements, there are several skills that a phlebotomist should possess to be successful in the role. After all, with the amount of patient interaction, strong interpersonal skills are necessary to connect and calm anxious patients and communicate what’s happening effectively.

Here are a few of the skills you’ll need to be a phlebotomist:

  • Attention to detail
  • Compassion and empathy
  • Adaptability
  • Patience
  • Dependability
  • Adherence to safety regulations
  • Great communication skills
  • Team player

Where do phlebotomists work?

Phlebotomists are required wherever there’s a need for a blood draw - and that doesn’t mean only in the doctor’s office or hospital. Anywhere there’s a patient, a phlebotomist is often required.

Here are some of the settings where you would likely find a phlebotomist:

  • Hospitals
  • Clinics
  • Nursing homes
  • Research facilities
  • Private home care
  • Blood donation centers
  • Mobile Phlebotomy services - like Getlabs
  • Doctor’s offices

Become a Getlab’s Phlebotomist

Phlebotomists are an integral part of any care team. It’s also one of the fastest growing medical fields today, with an expected growth rate of 22% over the next decade.

If you’re considering a career as a phlebotomist or curious to learn more, consider working for a mobile phlebotomy service like Getlabs. We hire talented, passionate people from diverse backgrounds, not just because it’s the right thing to do, but because it makes our company stronger as a whole. If you share our values and our enthusiasm for helping our patients have the best experience, we have a home for you at Getlabs.

Check out our careers page and find out if we’re hiring in your area!

This page is provided for educational and informational purposes only and does not constitute the provision of medical advice or professional services. The information provided should not be used for diagnosing or treating a health problem or disease, and those seeking personal medical advice regarding any of the tests and conditions referenced above are advised to consult with a licensed clinician. Always seek the advice of your qualified health provider regarding a medical condition and do not disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of any information on this page. If you think you may have a medical emergency, immediately call 911 or go to the nearest urgent care center or hospital.

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