A career in the health sector represents one of the best employment opportunities for those who want to help improve the medical condition of patients and who value long-term job security. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the period between 2000 and 2010 saw the elimination of around 3 million jobs in the US. Although the overall economy suffered increased unemployment during this time, healthcare continued to expand and added approximately 2.8 million new employees. With the medical sector currently accounting for around 13% of the workforce, it is safe to presume that phlebotomists can expect to enjoy strong employment prospects for the foreseeable future.
Common Tasks Included in the Phlebotomist Job Description
Phlebotomy is accurately defined as “the letting of blood for transfusion, diagnosis, or experiment, and especially in the treatment of disease.” Those who have ever had their blood drawn for medical purposes or in order to donate have likely come into contact with a phlebotomist. This type of medical professional specializes in collecting blood samples from patients and submitting them to the laboratory for analysis. Hospitals, blood donation centers, medical and diagnostics labs, and physician offices all employ individuals who are tasked with handling blood samples. Although the phlebotomist job description can vary from one employer to the next, most can expect to perform a basic skill set that includes…
- Drawing blood from patients
- Helping patients relax during the blood collection process
- Verifying the patient’s identity
- Labeling different types of samples
- Documenting in paper or electronic medical records
- Managing supplies and inventory
- Training new employees
Additional tasks may be required according to the unique needs of the employer, the qualifications of the employee, the size and scope of the facility, and the availability of other allied health providers. In general, large establishments are better able to hire more individuals who specialize in certain aspects of blood sample management while smaller offices may need a single individual to handle multiple aspects of the process. There are both positives and negatives associated with all types of work environments and an applicant is strongly encouraged to carefully consider the specific details of the phlebotomist job description before accepting signing an employment contract. Some examples of expanded responsibilities include…
- Creating requisition forms
- Tracking changes in local, state, and federal regulations
- Processing insurance and billing information
- Cleaning and sterilizing equipment
- Assessing drug levels
- Transporting samples to the laboratory
- Resolving patient complaints
- Organizing staff meetings and ensuring compliance
These tasks may require an individual to be detail-oriented and have solid hand-eye coordination. The collection of blood samples from a patient can be stressful and it is important for the technician to be fast and effective when performing the collection procedure. Dexterity and arm-hand steadiness are two skills that will be emphasized throughout training and are tested on certification examinations. Practice, repetition, and experience are usually all that is required in order to perfect these technical skills. Most employers will include these skills in the phlebotomist job description in order to ensure competency before allowing new employees to start collecting samples from patients.
Important Personality Traits and Character Qualities
The provision of high quality medical care in any type of establishment requires the collaborative efforts of several different types of clinical providers and administrative personnel. Before employers welcome new employees into their facilities, they want to know that those individuals possess the kinds of attributes that complement a safe and effective work environment. For this reason, it is extremely important for aspiring phlebotomists to reflect on their suitability for a career in a fast-paced medical setting before entering the profession. This approach can save both time and money as well as prevent the dissatisfaction that comes from realizing that the phlebotomy field is not the appropriate career choice.
One of the most important character qualities that all employers incorporate into the phlebotomist job description is compassion. Individuals who interact with patients in a direct manner must have a genuine concern for the health and well-being of others. People entering the healthcare system in need of care often suffer from a wide variety of medical conditions and often look to providers for the emotional support they need to cope with their present state of health. While the phlebotomist has not been hired to act as a psychiatrist, they should be able and willing to empathize with patients and provide positive encouragement. When a patient is apprehensive about having their blood drawn, the technician must be able to reassure them that the greatest care will be taken and that no harm will befall them.
In addition to possessing the attributes required to provide the highest level of care to patients, employees should be capable of working well with their peers and be willing to receive direction from their superiors. This requires the ability to listen attentively, speak clearly, interpret verbal and written communication, perceive nonverbal cues, and think critically. Applicants who have these traits are in high demand within the healthcare industry and will be able to enjoy several years of personal and professional satisfaction as a phlebotomist.