How Does the Blood Draw Process Work?
Approximately 25 percent of adults have a fear of needles. This fear includes getting a blood draw. Patients need to understand how to draw blood so that they know what to expect and can avoid feeling overwhelmed.
In this article, we review the entire blood draw process from when the blood drawing services team enters the room to when the sample gets shipped out. Continue reading to learn about your next blood testing appointment.
Review Ordered Blood Tests
When the hospital, clinic, or lab sends you in for blood drawing services, the team first confirms the details of the blood draw for the lab. They ask questions to help with identity confirmation such as those regarding name and date of birth.
After they’re sure they have the right patient, they review the specific blood testing parameters. This is an important step in the blood collection process as the blood draw parameters tell the staff what type of supplies they need and how they need to collect the blood.
Gather Blood Draw Supplies
After they have all of the blood draw details, they gather the necessary supplies. While some medical facilities have prepared kits for the blood draw process, others have individual supplies. Some of the most common supplies are listed below.
- Personal protective equipment (PPE)
- Collection tube(s)
- Syringes or other transfer devices
- Alcohol wipes and hand sanitizer
- Bandage materials
- Sharps container
- Specimen labels for tubes
- Lab submission forms
Some of the most important aspects of working in blood drawing services are learning how to draw blood and which supplies are necessary. Having these supplies ready to go helps save time and ensures a smooth blood draw process.
Explain The Process
Before starting the blood collection process, the medical professional drawing your blood should explain the next steps to you. This helps you understand what you need to do and what to expect from the process.
It’s important to follow the directions exactly as explained to minimize discomfort and to ensure as quick a procedure as possible.
Find A Vein
To find an appropriate vein, you’ll need to extend your arm for inspection. Training for blood draw services includes learning how to palpate the skin to find an appropriately sized and accessible vein.
The appropriate vein for a blood draw differs between patients. An adult patient has larger veins than an elderly patient or a child. Patients who receive blood draws frequently may also have a different ideal vein.
Commonly Used Veins For A Blood Draw
The most common vein used in the blood draw process for adults is called the median cubital vein. This vein is located just below the crook of the elbow. Since it’s close to the surface and does not move as easily as other veins, it is ideal for a blood draw.
Other commonly used veins are the basilic vein and the cephalic vein. These veins typically connect to the median cubital vein. However, the basilic vein is the least used vein of the three since it is difficult to anchor in place.
Prepare The Area
Once the ideal vein is located, the next part of blood testing is prepping the area. The right preparation steps are important for the well-being of the patient and the blood sample.
A clean, well-prepared area offers the highest quality sample for testing, which is important for reliable results. It helps minimize discomfort and the risk of infection. Plus, it reduces the chances of an unsuccessful first attempt.
Apply Tourniquet And Position Patient
The patient needs to hyperextend their arm for easy access to the vein and to apply the tourniquet. This helps keep the vein taut, which is important for the insertion of the needle.
The patient may also be asked to make a fist before or after the needle is inserted. This helps increase blood circulation which can help the blood flow through the needle faster and/or more effectively.
Sanitize The Area
The medical team will sanitize the area for the blood draw. This helps prevent any potential contamination of the sample. It also helps prevent infection.
To sanitize, an alcohol pad or wipe will be used on the skin’s surface for 30 seconds. The skin will then be allowed to air dry completely. The medical professional who will be collecting the blood will also use the appropriate PPE.
Insert The Needle
With the patient in position, the tourniquet in place, and the skin taut, the medical professional will then insert the needle into the skin at a 15- to a 30-degree angle.
Any pain or discomfort should be brief as the needle is inserted. It will subside once the needle is inside the vein. If you’re squeamish, consider looking away during this part of the process.
Once the needle is inside the vein, there will be a small flash of blood in the hub of the needle. Alternatively, the collection tube will start to fill with blood if using a vacutainer.
Attach Blood Tubes Or Syringes
If not using a vacutainer, a syringe or blood tube will be attached to the open end of the needle. Blood should then flow into the vessel.
The patient needs to remain as still as possible during the entire process. Sudden or unexpected movement can result in discomfort or injury.
Deliver To Lab
With the sample drawn, the medical team will ensure all samples are properly labeled and stored for shipment. These samples are then transported to the lab for analysis.
Proper college, storage, and shipment are essential for preserving the sample. Prompt delivery helps avoid hemolysis which can affect final results.
Get Prepared For Your Next Blood Draw
The blood collection process can be intimidating, especially if you’ve never had to go through it before. Understanding the process can make it feel more manageable. Use the above guide to prepare for your next blood draw.
If you’re ready to schedule blood work in the comfort of your own home, complete your request form today.