What Is Phlebotomy? A Quick Guide
Did you know that the U.S. medical industry has an estimated net worth of $2.6 trillion?
That’s a lot of money invested in the healthcare world! With the pandemic and aging of the American population, it will be no surprise that the government has had to ramp up medical offerings.
An essential part of that is phlebotomy. If this is the first time you’ve heard the word, you might be wondering – ‘What is phlebotomy’? And what do phlebotomists do?
In this article, we break down everything you need to know about the subject. Let’s get into it.
What Is Phlebotomy?
Let’s begin with the basics.
Phlebotomy is a process that drains blood from the body. It is also known as ‘bloodletting’ and has been used for centuries in the medical industry.
The process is helpful to diagnostic medical practice. Why? Well, drawing blood is the first step to understanding a patient’s condition.
Phlebotomy is thus used to understand any causes of illness or sickness and where that stems from. For example, from a simple blood test, doctors can draw a whole host of knowledge.
They can tell if you’re anemic or battling an infection. Blood tests also help detect more severe conditions such as HIV, hepatitis C and even some kinds of cancer early on. In addition, it informs health care practitioners about the state of organs such as the kidney and liver.
As you can see, phlebotomy is foundational to the medical industry!
What Is Therapeutic Phlebotomy?
Therapeutic phlebotomy is a specific branch within the larger field. In addition to drawing blood for diagnostic purposes, it can also be drawn as a treatment.
For example, some patients may have blood-related disorders or specific conditions. Phlebotomy can be used in this situation to remove excessive red blood cells or iron in the bloodstream.
This is particularly helpful in disorders like sick cell disease, hemochromatosis, and polycythemia vera.
What Is a Phlebotomy Technician?
A phlebotomy technician is also known as a phlebotomist.
Phlebotomists draw blood from patients to be used for analysis and diagnosis in the medical setting. Phlebotomists’ work branches out into other responsibilities involving the preparation of blood.
Some of these responsibilities also include preparing blood for transfusions and collecting blood donations. They are also trained extensively in managing medical privacy and ensuring all work environments are sterile and ready to use.
You may be wondering, where exactly do phlebotomy techs work? Well, the answer is that they can work in pretty much any medical setting. Whether it’s a clinic, doctor’s office, diagnostic laboratory, hospital, or blood donation center, phlebotomists have a great deal of flexibility in their work.
What Do Phlebotomists Do?
As mentioned above, there is a lot that goes into being a phlebotomist. It isn’t just about drawing blood! Phlebotomy techs are essential in the healthcare ecosystem, as they are the foundation of other medical offerings.
Following are some of the critical duties of a phlebotomist:
- Prepare and walk patients through the blood drawing process
- Carry out the drawing of blood as well as transfusions
- Verify patient identities to carry out accurate blood sample labeling
- Keep track of, label, and maintain various patient blood samples
- Organize and maintain blood collection equipment
- Help other healthcare practitioners in their responsibilities
- Assist patients who may be nervous or have adverse reactions to the blood drawing process
Technicians also need to know all of the phlebotomy tips and phlebotomy advice passed on from the doctors. This is essential to growing in the career and learning from other healthcare practitioners in the industry.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the job outlook in the phlebotomy industry is very high. It is projected that job availability in this field will increase by over 22% between 2020 and 2030.
Considering that’s much faster than most jobs, it’s a great time to be a phlebotomist. The average pay for phlebotomy techs is approximately $36,000 a year, with the hourly pay wage being roughly $17 a year.
How to Become a Phlebotomist
Wondering about the certification required to enter this industry?
Most employers will need a certification or non-degree diploma from an accredited school, university, or college. In addition to this certificate, it is also required that phlebotomists stay on top of their skills.
Thus, maintaining certification is a big part of the job. The leading verifying organizations are:
- The National Center for Competency Testing, or NCCT
- The National Health Career Association, or NHA
- The American Society for Clinical Pathology, or ASCP
- The American Medical Technologists, or AMT
In addition to these certifications, phlebotomy technicians also require hands-on experience. This is so that they have the training to carry out the job with ease in later stages.
Some employers offer internship periods where phlebotomists can learn the skills of the trade and get proficient in the craft of drawing blood. This is critical to later success and growth in the field.
Phlebotomy Is Essential in the Medical Industry
We hope this article answered the question of ‘what is phlebotomy’!
Although a simple enough medical act, phlebotomies are essential to the medical industry. Healthcare workers use the information from the blog samples to diagnose a patient’s condition and illness.
As such, phlebotomy is an in-demand profession as well.
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