Phlebotomists are allied health care professionals working under the guidance and supervision of physicians, medical technologists and laboratory managers. Although their job is highly technical and requires special training there are presently no licensing requirements for anyone to work as a phlebotomist in the USA.
The phlebotomist duties includes blood draws for tests, transfusions, donations, or research and may explain the procedure to patients and assists in the recovery of patients with adverse reactions.
Many phlebotomists work under the direct supervision of a physician, a medical laboratory scientist, or a lead phlebotomy technician in health clinics, medical and surgical hospitals, doctor's offices, group practices, laboratories, colleges, universities, correctional facilities, blood banks or blood donation centers where they collect and preserve people's blood, urine, or stool samples for occult blood testing as requested by a doctor and other licensed health care practitioners for laboratory analysis.
Others travel to certain locations to collect blood samples there, for example, they may travel from house to house to collect specimens from homebound persons. After the specimen has been obtained the collection tubes are labeled and transported to the lab. The samples will be analyzed to help diagnose and monitor illness or deficiencies. Sometimes, this also includes drug and sobriety testing.
People who became a phlebotomist told us they were attracted to this career path because of their desire to help people within their community and for the flexible hours and work options, such as per diem, contract staffing, temp to hire, direct placement, or working extra weekends.
Charlotte Mowrer: Working with the public to help people that are sick.
Angie: It is a good foot in the door to becoming a phlebotomist (veterinary and people).
Lou: I love working with people and the medical field has good benefits.
David Manzano: Phlebotomy is a stepping stone to get into the medical field.
Holly McDonald: I like to work in a career that puts me in a position to help people.
Joseph Boachie, Jr.: I'm passionate and love to meet the medical needs of valuable humans.
Silvia Rojos: I earned my phlebotomy skills on the job while working as a medical assistant in a busy family practice for the past 12 years.
José Gonzalez: Doing phlebotomy is my stepping stone into the medical field.
Professional Traits and Abilities
Phlebotomists must be well organized, possess manual dexterity, a keen eye for detail and utilize proper body mechanics to perform proper blood sampling techniques and handle related equipment and instruments. They must have a thorough understanding of the anatomy of the limbs, especially the antecubital fossa (bend of the arm) and its blood vessels and nerves, and know proper procedures when it comes to preparing the blood collection site, labeling tubes and handling and processing specimen containers and kits. They must adhere to proper patient identification techniques and the rules of infection control as outlined by the Occupational and Safety Health Agency (OSHA), and be proficient in specimen collection from adults and children of all ages and assure laboratory safety for colleagues and the public.