When considering a career in the medical world, you may have stumbled across the term “phlebotomy” or “phlebotomist,” and you may be asking yourself, “what is a phlebotomist, and what do they do?”

Phlebotomy is the practice of taking blood from a person, usually through a vein or artery in the arm. A phlebotomist is an individual trained to perform that blood draw.

Type of Work

So, what is a phlebotomist and what do they do on the job? Well, a phlebotomist is part of a medical team alongside doctors, nurses and other trained personnel. They deal directly with patients who need blood taken for a variety of tests.

As a phlebotomist, you’ll practice “venipuncture” which involves making a small incision in a vein or artery and drawing blood from the spot of the incision. You’ll take the blood in a safe and sanitary manner using sterile instruments in order to keep the sample pure and to keep you and your patient safe.

The blood vials you fill must be properly labeled. This is absolutely vital to ensure the right blood gets tested correctly for the right patient. As blood testing can bring attention to potentially serious diseases, strict attention to detail is an absolute must for a phlebotomist.

Work Environments

When asking, “what is a phlebotomist?” you may be wondering what kind of places you’ll end up working. You may end up in a large hospital taking blood from patients across different units, or you find yourself somewhere smaller like a physician’s office or a health clinic where people are coming in to get testing done. You could potentially even find yourself in a nursing home or working for a blood donation center. Commercial labs also hire phlebotomists.

Most days, you’ll find yourself drawing from dozens of patients, and you’ll be on your feet moving back and forth between patient areas. Prepare to be mobile!

The Human Element

As a phlebotomist, you’ll deal with many patients who are stressed and upset due to a fear of what their test results may bring or from a simple fear of needles. You must be able to approach your patients in a calm and soothing manner. Be ready to listen because some patients will want someone who will listen to, and be sympathetic to, their plight. Your ability to interact, on a daily basis, with people who find themselves in a stressful situation is absolutely essential.

Your New Career

Hopefully, this has helped answer your question, “What is a phlebotomist?” A career in phlebotomy can be a rewarding and enriching one. You’ll go into work every day knowing that your job is an essential one that makes a positive difference in people’s lives.