7 Tips for Testing Blood as a Traveling Physician
70% of medical decisions today involve laboratory test results, many of these being blood tests. But what if you are a physician with no fixed place of work?
As a traveling physician, you are constantly on the go, helping patients in different parts of the country. One of the most important aspects of your job is ensuring that your patients receive the best possible care.
This includes blood testing when necessary. Here are eight tips for making blood testing easier as a traveling physician!
Work With a Remote Blood Testing Site
There are many remote blood testing sites that can help you with your patients. These sites can help you collect and process blood samples, as well as provide results in a timely manner.
This is a great option if you do not have access to a laboratory or if you are working in an area where laboratories are not readily available. It ensures you still get high-quality lab work, fast turnaround times, and reliable quick blood testing results wherever you are.
Tell Your Patients To Drink Enough Water Before the Blood Test
This may seem like common sense, but it’s important to remind your patients to drink enough water before their blood tests. Dehydration can cause inaccurate results, so make sure your patients are properly hydrated before they come in for their appointment.
Ideally, they will need to consume more fluids a day or two before they have the blood test. With a person being more hydrated this will also make the veins more visible and easy to puncture.
Find Out If Your Patients Have a Needle Phobia
Having a fear of needles can make blood tests difficult for both you and your patient. If you know that your patient has a needle phobia, there are things you can do to make the experience more bearable.
For example, you can use a numbing cream before inserting the needle. You can also try using a smaller needle or a butterfly needle. If all else fails, you can always refer your patient to a phlebotomist who is specifically trained in dealing with needle phobia.
Use the Right Equipment and Check Your Kit Regularly
Using the right equipment is crucial when performing any kind of medical procedure, including blood tests. Make sure you are using a sterile needle and that the area where you will be inserting the needle is clean.
You should also use gloves when collecting the blood sample. This protects you from getting any blood-borne diseases and ensures that the sample is not contaminated.
If you are a traveling physician, it’s important to check your blood testing equipment to make sure you have all the right utensils and that they are being kept in a clean and sterile environment.
With all the travel and moving around, you might find that your medical kit is exposed to excessive temperatures that degrade your supplies. This is why it’s imperative to check your kit and change out anything that needs replacing.
Tell Your Patients Not to Exercise Before the Blood Test
Exercise can also cause inaccurate results. This is because when you exercise, your body releases adrenaline. Adrenaline can increase your heart rate and affect the results of certain blood tests.
So, if your patient is scheduled for a blood test, make sure they avoid exercising for at least 24 hours before their appointment.
Explain the Procedure Properly to Your Patients
Many people get anxious when they have to get a blood test. This is often because they do not understand what the procedure entails. As a physician, it’s your job to explain the procedure to your patients and put their minds at ease.
Let them know that the needle will only be inserted for a few seconds and that they will feel a slight prick. Explain that you will be collecting a small amount of blood and that the procedure is relatively painless.
If your patient understands what is going to happen, they will be less likely to experience anxiety or fear.
Take Your Time
When you’re performing a blood test, it’s important to take your time. This is not a procedure that you want to rush. If you rushed, you might miss a vein or cause your patient unnecessary pain.
So, take your time and make sure the needle is inserted properly before collecting the blood sample.
As a traveling physician, on average you’ll be seeing fewer patients day-to-day than a physician in a hospital. This means that you should have more time to collect blood samples and make your patients feel at ease.
If they are in an assisted living facility or their own home, you can make sure they are in a comfortable place they are familiar with such as a favorite sofa or chair.
Tell Them to Avoid Caffeine, Smoking, and Alcohol
Just like exercise, caffeine, smoking, and alcohol can all affect the results of certain blood tests. Caffeine and nicotine increase your heart rate and can cause inaccurate results.
Alcohol consumption can also lead to false readings. This is because alcohol dilutes the blood and makes it harder to clot.
So, if you want accurate results, make sure your patients avoid these substances for at least 24 hours before their blood test.
Blood Testing and Being a Travelling Physician: What to Do Next?
As a traveling physician, blood testing can be a challenge if you are in unfamiliar surroundings. However, by following these tips, you can make the process easier for both you and your patients.
Working with a remote blood testing site can be helpful for physicians that are always on the move. It’s possible to do on-site blood testing, as well as long-distance blood testing depending on your patient’s needs.
If you would like more information about our blood testing service, check out our FAQs to learn more.