Venipuncture is conducted by a trained phlebotomist; it is the process of collecting blood from the veins. This procedure requires certain venipuncture materials be used to be able to collect the blood from the patient. Therefore, the phlebotomist must have the tools close by while conducting the procedure of drawing blood. Once your blood is collected, it usually goes to a laboratory for medical testing purposes. We will take a closer look at the venipuncture materials needed, why these materials are important, how to use each properly, and sterilization.
Collection tubes must first have their tops sterilized. Once it is properly sterilized, it is inserted into the hub of a needle before being used. After the needle is piercing the vein, the collection tube should be pushed further into the hub. By pushing the tube further into the hub, it will cause the blood to flow into the tube. Collection tubes usually are glass or plastic and have tops with different colors that represent which diagnostic testing will be performed on each.
Needles are the most common object people think of when going to get blood drawn from a phlebotomist. The objective of using a needle is to pierce a vein to gather blood for medical testing. The most common needle used is a butterfly needle. However, there is a new blood drawing needle beginning to be used that leaves the patient with less pain and reduces speed during the venipuncture procedure; it is called the Vacutainer UltraTouch Push Button Blood Collector.
For now, we will focus on the butterfly needle. Before using a butterfly needle, you should be sure to wash and dry your hands prior to putting on gloves. After completing sterilization, take the cap off the needle and handle it by the wings. Then, insert the collection tube into the hub. Hold the needle with your dominant hand with the bevel facing upward. Use your other hand to hold the vein in place and insert the needle at a 15 to 30-degree angle. Blood should begin flowing into the needle, and the collection tube should be pushed further into the hub, as mentioned before. Release your collection tube and tourniquet first and withdraw the needle from the site. Be sure the properly discard the needle afterwards into a disposal unit.
A lancet is an important object to know if you are drawing blood from a child or infant. The lancet is usually used on the finger or heel during the venipuncture procedure. This tool is easier to use on a child or infant because it quickly punctures the area and is able to be immediately removed. This helps with the child experiencing less pain and discomfort. Even with a lancet, you need to be sure to sterilize the area you plan to puncture beforehand. A lancet must be immediately discarded into a proper disposal unit as well.
A tourniquet is a neat tool used to squeeze your arm, which compresses your veins. It prevents your blood from returning to your heart. This causes your veins under the tourniquet to swell and fill with blood. This object has become a common tool used to help phlebotomists see the vein needed to be pierced, and it aids in making the venipuncture process easier.
To properly use this item, place it three to four inches above the area you plan to inject, which is usually the forearm. Once your patient’s arm is in the correct position, place the tourniquet under the forearm. Complete a partial tie by crossing the ends of the tourniquet once and partially tucking one loose end.
Alcohol or Iodine Wipes/Swabs
One of the most used and needed products by phlebotomists are wipes or swabs. Wipes and swabs disinfect the area before it is punctured for blood collection. You must always remember to open the wipes with the use of gloves before beginning the venipuncture process. The wipe or swab must remain in the covered pack until it is ready to be used. Then, the phlebotomist will use it to disinfect the area with wiping in a circular motion. Also, be sure to throw away the wipe or swab immediately after use.
Immediately after the needle is removed from the area, a gauze pad is used. The gauze pad is usually used by the phlebotomist to apply pressure to the punctured site, and it maintains sterilization. It is important to use pressure on the area because it helps the bleeding to stop and begins the blood clotting process. This also helps prevent any future bruising that could occur to the punctured area.
Gloves are an extremely important item of the venipuncture materials. Non-sterile examination gloves are the best to use. Your safety and health must always come first, which is why gloves are a crucial necessity. By wearing gloves, you will remain protected from any contamination that could come from blood related pathogens that the patient may have. The gloves protect the patient as well, so that he is not exposed to any pathogens that could be on your hands. This is critical to remember because these contaminations can easily enter the patient’s body through a punctured area during the venipuncture process.
Before putting on gloves, you should always wash and dry your hands to help reduce the chances of cross contamination from the phlebotomist to the patient. Also, make sure you use the right size gloves to make it easier to handle the phlebotomy materials.
After you finish collecting the patient’s blood, you should carefully throw away the gloves without touching the outside with bare hands. Turn the glove inside out for protection from exposed pathogens. Washing your hands again is also a good idea.
Disposal units, such as a sharp container, are a required object of the venipuncture materials. Disposal units aid in controlling exposure to pathogens. Disposal units offer the phlebotomist, patients, and other healthcare workers the proper and safe disposal of used needles or any other tool that was used to puncture during the venipuncture process. Sharp containers are usually bright red and have a biohazard sign printed on them.
Safe Venipuncture with PhlebotomyU
PhlebotomyU currently offers a Safe Venipuncture course to help radiologic professionals learn how to safely perform the venipuncture procedure with these tools. If you are interested in phlebotomy school or curious to learn more about venipuncture, feel free to contact us today! We would love to hear from you. Since 1986, PhlebotomyU has been dedicated to providing the knowledge and skills to prospective and current healthcare professionals through our phlebotomy training. We aim to educate you on the most recent trends in blood analysis and clinical laboratory medicine, and we would be glad to have you join us.