Posted on | August 14, 2012 | No Comments
Drawing blood is the most basic procedure performed by phlebotomists each day. Professionals in hospitals, medical offices, labs, and blood banks help patients through routine tests and important, life-saving screens. The process is so important that phlebotomy schools dedicate months to educating the next generation of caring healthcare workers. Classes cover topics such as
- how to prepare patients
- how to identify critical locations in the circulatory system
- how to draw blood through venipuncture or finger prick
- how to avoid biological contamination and microbial transfer
- how to comply with federal, state, and local laws
- how to dispose of medical waste properly
- how to analyze blood specimens
Only trained phlebotomists and nurses should attempt to draw blood. The following details are for informational purposes only and have been greatly simplified. To start a career in bloodwork, you should enroll in an accredited and certified phlebotomy program.
- Identify the patient, typically through name and birthdate. Confirm that the person in front of you matches the person listed on outpatient paperwork.
- Check for any allergies. If your patient is allergic to latex, you will need to use non-latex gloves, such as nitrile.
- Select the blood collection tubes needed for the tests that have been ordered. The color of the cap typically relates to the type of specimen needed.
- Select the correct size of needle. You must assess the male or female’s vein location, physical characteristics, and amount of blood to be drawn. One-inch needles are common, but 1 1/2 inch needles may be necessary for individuals with deep veins.
- Choose the best gauge size, typically 20, 21, or 22. The bigger the gauge, the smaller the needle.
- Assemble tubes and supplies so you can reach them easily when you need them.
- Venipuncture is usually completed with a vacutainer. Syringes may be used for difficult blood draws, such as from fragile veins, small veins, or veins in danger of collapse.
- Draw for serum tests before drawing blood that requires anticoagulants.
- Label tubes only after the procedure is complete.
For venipuncture, you will use a tourniquet approximately 3 inches above the draw site. In most cases, you will be using the antecubital fossa, which is the at the inside elbow where the arm bends. You will palpate the vein, clean the venipuncture site, and position the arm to prevent reflux.
You can learn how to draw blood under different conditions and circumstances by joining a local phlebotomist training program. When you graduate, you will be in control of whether you pursue phlebotomy as a full-time job or use it as a stepping stone to better employment.