Choosing any career is a difficult decision. You have to know exactly what you want, and you have to work hard to fulfill all of the requirements to get there. You should never choose a certificate or degree program unless you know that you want to pursue a career in that particular field. Becoming a certified phlebotomist could be a wise career decision if you are looking for a career in the medical field that does not require you to spend years and years studying in order to obtain an undergraduate or graduate degree.
Is this Career for Me?
Before you decide to enroll in a phlebotomy program, you will need to ask yourself some questions, such as, “Do I qualify for this career?” Some important qualities that a phlebotomist should have include:
• Hand-eye Coordination
• Detail Orientation
Dexterity is extremely important because becoming a phlebotomist means that you will be using your hands to perform your duties at work; drawing blood. You will also need to have skills using your hands to handle the equipment properly and efficiently.
Drawing blood from patients sometimes goes smoothly, but at other times, the patient may be afraid of this procedure, and need a little compassion. It will be your duty to reassure the patient, and always be caring. You will need to show patience, in addition to kindness.
You do not want your patient to experience any type of discomfort, at any time, which is why you should have great hand-eye coordination. You will need to draw blood from your patient, and you should be able to do so efficiently the first attempt; multiple attempts could cause a high level of discomfort for your patient.
Being detailed-oriented is a very important quality that all phlebotomists should have. You will need to draw a specific amount of blood into vials, and it is up to you to do so correctly. You will also need to keep track of those vials of blood, in addition to entering patient data into a database. Failing to pay close attention to detail could cause you to enter the wrong data for a patient; you could also misplace, or lose, the vials of blood that were ordered for testing. This misinformation and misplacement could cause a patient to be injured or receive incorrect treatment.
You can find a variety of phlebotomy programs at technical schools, community colleges, and vocational schools. You even have the option to enroll in an online phlebotomy program. Even though the program is online, you will need to take your laboratory portions of the program at an approved medical facility. Your enrollment counselor will explain the online program to you in more depth. Regardless of which option you take, you will be on the road to earning your phlebotomy certificate.
The phlebotomy program is typically a nine-month program, complete with coursework and laboratory work. You will be instructed on a variety of subjects, including medical terminology, anatomy, physiology, and more. Although some employers hire phlebotomists straight out of high school, a majority of medical facilities will require that the phlebotomists they hire be certified. Again, this will vary by the employer, as well as the state that you reside or will practice in. However, California, Louisiana, and Nevada require that all phlebotomist be certified before they can practice in those states.
While you will generally spend nine months completing your phlebotomy program, you will be required to take the certification exam before you can begin working as a phlebotomist with most employers. The examination that you will be required to take before becoming a certified phlebotomist typically consists of the actual exam questions, and practical components, which includes drawing blood. The examination requirements will vary for each individual certifying organization.
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