Phlebotomy – the surgical opening or puncture of a vein in order to withdraw blood or introduce a fluid. Phlebotomists today have the everyday pressure of dealing with all different types of patients. You have infants to the elderly, from the passive to the aggressive. With each different type of patient, there are still ground rules that must be followed in order for a phlebotomist to do not only their job but also to maintain the safety of the patient and also themselves. Each job whether in the medical field or not have quality controls. A Phlebotomist is no different.
First, the phlebotomist must identify the patient correctly. Where ever a Phlebotomist may work will have their own rules for patient identification. Typically there are two types of identifiers for each patient; this can consist of the hospital band that the Phlebotomist would have to check, and typically a verbal identification from the patient that can include last four of social, full name, and date of birth. Being Phlebotomist they should be very aware, of the outcome that can occur from falsely identifying a patient. First of all failing to identify a patient can lead to over or under-treatment of a patient, which could further result in death or further sickness. Secondly, a Phlebotomist risks losing his or her job if proper identification is failed on their end. This is where communicating with the patient is ALWAYS key.
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Communicating with a patient as a Phlebotomist can often and sometimes be difficult given the different types of patients they may have. Communicating involves three main aspects verbal, non-verbal and listening. There will almost always be an error if the phlebotomist does not communicate with his or her patient. When a Phlebotomist enters a room, he or she is to advise the patient that they are with the lab and are there to draw blood per their doctor’s orders. This is advising the patient what is going to happen and who and why they are there. Patients are covered by the AHA Patient Bills of Rights. With this, the patient has the right to refuse any procedure. If the phlebotomist ignores this and tries to move forward it is considered Assault, if the phlebotomist continues and places any hand on the patient it could be a Battery. With this, the Phlebotomist has a great deal weighing on their shoulders. This leaves very little room for error.
Selecting the correct vein is one of the first things that a Phlebotomist is taught. The median antecubital vein is the first choice for a venipuncture site. If a Phlebotomist fails to use this vein when it is perfectly able to use and goes for the 2nd or 3rd, he or she runs the risk of harming the patient. Capillary punctures are the same, you have certain fingers that you are able to use do to some being overused or sensitive, again if this is ignored and the Phlebotomist does a capillary puncture on a thumb or pointer finger, again goes back to the Phlebotomist running into Assault and Battery, and maybe even job loss.
Learning what I have learned from the article alone, I can and will take it along with me into my job that I will obtain. I learned that like doctors, Phlebotomist the dictum “first, do no harm”, does apply to them. Learning to communicate with a patient I have learned can be the key when you are about to do any type of invasive procedure. Advising the patient of who you are, what you are doing is just part of the keys that go along with communication. Identifying the patient is another part of communication, not just for the Phlebotomist but also for the patient’s safety in the outcome of lab work that may be taken. So with all that I have read and learned, I can apply that to my future job by knowing what to do and what not to do with a patient. Several points are just common sense and involve bedside manner which being a Phlebotomist is a must.
Affordances and Drawbacks
Being trained as a phlebotomist would be an affordance because it “is a vital part of today’s ultra-modern and vast health care industry” (BLS, 2008, np). People use these trained technicians every day. Therefore if you are trained and certified, hospitals, doctors, and even prisons will be looking to hire you. After doing a lot of research I found that a drawback of this career is that “dissatisfaction is related to the lack of respect from nurses and a limited career pathway” (Kluger, M.T., & Bryant, J., 2008 p2). All though it may not be like that everywhere you work. I am sure that it is a very stressful work setting. Surely the stress would be more significant when you’re in a hospital setting. Also, another drawback would be having to draw blood from a child or infant. Being a mother I never want to hurt a sick child, but if I do my job well and don’t hurt them too much hope I can help them get better.
Growth Potential and Income Potential
According to the (California Department of Public Health, 2013, p1), there are three different types of phlebotomy certification “limited phlebotomy technician, they are authorized to do skin puncture and blood collection only. Certified phlebotomy technician 1, they are authorized to do venipuncture and skin punctures, and certified phlebotomy technician 2, they3 are authorized to do venipuncture, arterial puncture and skin puncture”. So there is obviously a lot of growth potential. A certified phlebotomy technician 2 makes about $10,000 more a year than a limited phlebotomist. According to the (occupational employment statistics, 2012, p4), Nevada is a high paying state for phlebotomist. The yearly wage is “ $34,070 – $38,750 a year”. The hourly wage is “$18.48”. That is enough money for me. Also being a phlebotomist would further me into my nursing career which has a much greater salary.
To be satisfied at any job I believe you must be an outgoing person and willing to work with anyone. Even though there have been reports of job dissatisfaction, stress, and burnout (Kluger, M.T., & Bryant J., 2008, p3). Someone has to do this job to try and keep our society healthy. I believe that I would be great at this job. It would make me feel a sense of accomplishment to be helping the world live a healthier life. All jobs will be stressful at one point or another. People who work at mc Donald’s experience the same amount of stress as a nurse. It all depends on your attitude and what you want in your work life.
When I started researching this career there were some things that I did not know. The most interesting thing that I discovered was that drawing blood on yourself can be “a rare form of self-mutilation” (Faulconer, E. & House, M.,2001, vol 55, no3). In this case study, there was a woman who had intrusive suicidal thoughts. To soothe these feelings she looked up auto phlebotomy on the internet and learned how to draw her own blood.
Then she would withdraw 250cc of blood and wash it down the sink. She did this so often that she was miss diagnosed with “severe iron-deficient anaemia” (Faulconer, E., & House, M.,2001, vol 55, no 3). After all my research I have decided that this is the job for me because according to the (BLS,2008, np) you’re looking for a dynamic career that shows real growth potential, phlebotomy may be just the job for you!
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