Venipuncture Materials 101

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

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.

Needle

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.

Lancet

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.

Tourniquet

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.

Gauze

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

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 Unit

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.

What is the NCCT?

A NCCT phlebotomy technician is trained to withdraw blood for transfusions, donations, medical testing, or research. The blood is collected primarily through venipunctures. Patients may have a fear of blood and needles, making it difficult to get the necessary sample. It is a phlebotomist’s job to create a trusting environment and inspire confidence in patients through skillful, reliable, and safe practices. Demand for skilled phlebotomists is huge – the market projects a 25% growth rate through 2026.

The National Center for Competency Testing (NCCT) is the credentialing organization responsible for testing and certifying professional healthcare roles. After training from an accredited program is completed, an exam is administered and must be passed to become a certified phlebotomy technician (CPT). With such a rapid growth rate, employers seek technicians that received training from an accredited program and are certified by the national accrediting agency. Receiving certification ensures prospective employers that you are equipped with the necessary skills to succeed in your medical field.

What is the National Center for Competency Testing?

The National Center for Competency Testing is an independent credentialing agency that tests healthcare professionals and provides certification for several healthcare roles. Credentials are valid for five years and can be maintained as active or inactive. The organization is meticulous in its exam design, guaranteeing that each certification is credible not only to employers but also to the public. The National Certified Phlebotomy Technician (NCPT) certification, administered by the NCCT, is accredited by the National Commission for Certifying Agencies.

NCPT Eligibility

There are three routes that you can follow to be eligible for the NCPT exam. Although all routes of eligibility are similar, requirements for eligibility differ depending on whether you are a current or former student, have full-time work experience, or were military trained.

Current and Former Students
If you are currently a student enrolled in, or a student who graduated from, an accredited program, to be eligible for certification you must:

  • Have a high school diploma or GED
  • Submit a copy of your diploma from the program
  • Submit a certification critical skill competency form
  • Pay a $90 exam fee

Work Experience
If you have at least one year of verified full-time experience as a Phlebotomist within the past 5 years, to be eligible for certification you must:

  • Have a high school diploma or GED
  • Have one year (or 2,080 hours) of full-time employment as a Phlebotomy Technician under licensed supervision within the past 5 years
  • Submit a copy of your high school diploma/ED and the certification qualification experience form that is completed by your employer
  • Pay a $90 exam fee

Military Experience
If you received technical CPT training during military service within the past 5 years, to be eligible you must:

  • Be a high school graduate or have a GED
  • Submit a copy of a SMART transcript or DD214
  • Complete the certification critical skill competency form
  • Pay a $90 exam fee

What to Expect from a Training Program

Enrolling in a CPT training program is the first step towards starting a rewarding career in medicine. In general, students will learn about a range of topics, including CPR, anatomy and physiology, lab safety and blood sampling procedures.

PhlebotomyU offers affordable training and credentialing programs, with classes available for weekday and weekend sessions. The CPT1 full course takes 5 weeks to complete and includes:

  • 20 hours of basic didactic training
  • 20 hours of advanced didactic training
  • 40-60 hours of hands-on in-class training
  • The National certification exam
  • 40-120 externship hours

The advanced CPT1 license course is made for students who have a minimum of 1,040 hours of work experience as a phlebotomist and want to get a CPT1 license. The course involves the 20 hours of advanced didactic training and is also available for weekday and weekend sessions. Regardless of the course, all students have to pass the National exam to be able to obtain a CPT1 license. Other prerequisites include:

  • A signed letter of experience
  • High school diploma, transcript, or ED
  • Background check and drug screen
  • Immunizations
  • BLS certification
  • Updated resume

CPT-1 Program Costs

Tuition for this program is $2,900 and it covers the costs of training, course materials, lab supplies, background checks, drug screen, the National exam, and the clinical externships. Additionally, financing options are available through PhlebotomyU’s student loan program. There are three financing plans in the loan program and an up-front registration and origination fee is required. To be eligible, the Student Loan Program Questionnaire needs to be completed. If approved, then you must pass a credit check and have all the prerequisites. Discounted payment options are also available for students who sign up as a group or through employers.

The start of your career as a phlebotomist is only a few weeks away. Training at PhlebotomyU prepares you for your career and guarantees potential employers that you are equipped for the job. PhlebotomyU is dedicated to enhancing your career, meeting healthcare providers’ needs, and improving patient care. Courses are created to equip students with the skills and knowledge required to work in various healthcare facilities, including hospitals, labs, blood banks, and private practices.

Since its establishment in 1986, PhlebotomyU has worked to provide excellent continuing education to healthcare professionals. The institution is certified to operate by the California Bureau for Private Postsecondary Education (BPPE) and the California Department of Public Health (CDPH). It also offers additional classes in venipuncture and drawing blood. Besides providing high-quality education, PhlebotomyU provides students other valuable tools, including career services and externships with affiliated healthcare facilities.

Are you ready to get your career as a phlebotomist started? Contact us today!