What is Phlebotomy? What is a Phlebotomist?

Mary Rumbaoa
Feb 9, 2023
Photo by National Cancer Institute.

Phlebotomy is a standard medical procedure used to collect blood for testing, diagnosis, and surgical procedures.  Phlebotomy is the practice of drawing blood samples from patients by trained professionals (future you?). These blood samples are required by doctors in order to diagnose or analyze a patient's health condition. The process involves inserting a needle into a person's vein to get blood samples. 

Phlebotomy has been practiced for many centuries to treat a wide range of conditions. Doctors believed that bloodletting (old name for Phlebotomy) would help regulate a patient's temperature, cure headaches and fevers, improve appetite, and even reduce digestive issues! The word “phlebotomy” itself is the Greek word “phlebotomia” which loosely translates to “cutting of the blood vessel or vein”. The earliest recorded history of phlebotomy is from the Egyptians who believed that it cured a host of problems ranging from acne to plague.

Today Phlebotomy is primarily used to collect blood samples which can be used to detect and diagnose illnesses, or to help diagnose certain metabolic disorders. It is also used in potentially life-saving procedures such as blood transfusions. 

What is a Phlebotomist?

Phlebotomists are trained professionals who work in clinics and hospitals all over the world. They draw blood using a process called venipuncture which involves inserting a needle into a vein, which they then use to draw blood from patients. Phlebotomists are responsible for matching samples, labeling them, and handling specimens in a safe, sanitary way.

They are primarily responsible for ensuring the safety of the patients and the process, as well as ensuring that no one is exposed to potentially infectious substances. They adhere to health standards and guidelines while being closely monitored by physicians, nurses, and other healthcare providers.

As a phlebotomist, you are also tasked with making sure that patients feel at ease while undergoing the procedure of drawing blood. It is your duty to ask questions regarding any allergies or problems with needles and let them know what to expect during their experience with you. Your skills with patients are essential in giving them the needed comfort and support that allows for drawing blood to be done smoothly.

If you enjoy working with people and have a high tolerance for the sight of blood, (very important criteria!) Phlebotomy could be a great career choice for you. Becoming a phlebotomist is a stepping stone to a rewarding career in medicine.

If you have read this far, is it safe to presume that you are interested in becoming a Phlebotomist? If so, check out some great trade schools near you that offer a Phlebotomy program here.

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Written by
Mary Rumbaoa

Mary Joy Rumbaoa is a student support representative at Dreambound and an author. She has assisted hundreds of students in locating a suitable trade school where they can complete their training as CNAs and Phlebotomists, allowing them to obtain licenses to work in the medical field.

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