8 Surprising Phlebotomy Facts

8 Facts About Phlebotomy

A phlebotomist is someone who uses venipuncture to draw blood from an individual. While many fear blood or the act of getting their blood drawn, the role of the phlebotomist is extremely important in the health and treatment of individuals. Drawn blood can indicate the presence or absence of blood cells to indicate a serious illness or unhealthy levels of cholesterol or blood sugars. It can also indicate genetic markers that signal a predisposition for a disease, or the possibility of disease in future children. Here are 8 phlebotomy facts that demonstrate its importance in medical practice over the past two thousand years.

Bloodletting Was Common in Ancient Egypt, Greece, and Rome

Phlebotomy’s earliest ancestor was the process of bloodletting. While it was used for very different purposes than the modern procedures, the idea behind the process was similar. Instead of removing blood for diagnostic purposes, physicians believed that releasing blood from the body was a way to treat common and serious ailments, essentially letting the poisonous illness drain from the body. Additionally, there was a belief that physicians needed to balance the four humors of the body: yellow bile, black bile, phlegm, and blood. Bloodletting was believed to be a therapeutic way to accomplish this equilibrium.

George Washington Died From Lack of Blood

Our very first president could have lived a longer life if only he had a modern phlebotomist to help him out. Washington reportedly lost between 5 and 7 pints of blood in 2/3 of a day as a result of excessive bloodletting. He received the treatment in response to a very bad sore throat but ultimately lost his life due to a significant shortage of blood in his body. More modern facts about phlebotomy have informed technicians on the proper procedures for drawing blood in order to avoid situations where patients lose too much blood.

Blood Used to be Drawn From Larger Veins

Prior to the modern understanding of safe venipuncture, blood used to be let by severing arteries and veins in the neck or forearm. This practice was done using any sharp metal or wooden implement and was used to treat common ailments during medieval times, such as smallpox, gout and the plague. This led to an excess of blood being released from the body in some instances, and the lack of sterilization could lead to serious or lethal infection.

Barbers Were Also Phlebotomists

While the idea of drawing blood in the lab might feel nerve-wracking, consider the idea that barbershops used to practice phlebotomy in addition to cutting hair. As mentioned above, bloodletting was common in ancient and medieval times, and medical care used to be administered by monks and assisted by barbers at their shop. Patients could get a haircut and have a vein cut to drain blood all in the same visit. This is why a barber’s pole is red, white and blue. The pole resembles the shape of the stick patients held to make their vein prominent while the red color symbolized the blood and the white represented the bandages.

Leeches Were Commonly Used to Draw Blood in the 19th Century

As if cutting people open to release their blood doesn’t sound bad enough, physicians in France and England used to use leeches to suck the blood of patients in the 1830s and 1840s. Back in ancient times, and again in the middle ages, the leeches were used to heal headaches and other ailments. While leeches are currently still used to help with removing blood in swollen areas or following procedures with an increased risk for blood clots, there are much safer means to draw blood for diagnostic purposes.

Veterinarians Also Practice Phlebotomy

People are not the only ones who require blood to be drawn on occasion. Animals can also require blood to be drawn to check for disease or to perform routine checkups. Pets, such as dogs and cats, may require regular bloodwork in order to ensure that they do not have any life-threatening illnesses such as Lyme disease or heartworms. When animals are ill, it might also be necessary to collect blood to check for disease.

There are Four Blood Types

There are only four major blood types that run through everybody’s veins: A, B, AB and O. Additionally, these blood types are labeled positive or negative depending on whether the Rh antigen is found in the blood. Blood typing is important for blood transfusions, as patients need to receive blood of the same type as what runs through their veins. Those with type O blood are considered “universal donors” because their blood can be used for any blood type because it does not contain antigens.

Blood Can Also be Drawn for “Good” Reasons

The last but certainly not least of the facts about phlebotomy is the idea that getting your blood drawn doesn’t have to be a “bad” thing. Although we tend to associate phlebotomy with illness, the process of drawing blood can be useful for other things as well. Research assistants may draw blood as part of their studies to help understand and make sense of human health. Analyzing the blood of participants to determine genetic markers for illnesses, the body’s responses to treatment, or the way blood cells behave when the patient already has a known diagnosis can help further our knowledge of how to recognize and treat serious illnesses.

As these phlebotomy facts show, the work that phlebotomists do saves the lives of patients every day. Whether taking a sample to determine the presence of an illness or drawing donated blood to help those in need of transfusions, the work of someone skilled in venipuncture is incredibly important to the health and safety of the individuals they work with. If you think you would like to learn how to do this all-important job, contact us today!

Legal Issues in Phlebotomy

Phlebotomists are an integral part of a modern medical team. As such, their jobs encompass much more than the simple mechanics of blood withdrawal. An important part of a phlebotomist’s education involves learning about the ethical and legal questions associated with the field of phlebotomy. This article will provide you with a brief overview of some of the major legal issues faced by phlebotomists every day.

Informed Consent

Every medical professional must make sure that his or her patients understand and consent to every procedure. In most instances, the patient has the right to an explanation of what medical procedure is being performed and why. If the patient is a minor, her parents or guardians must provide consent on her behalf. Phlebotomists must also bear in mind that the patient has the right to refuse consent. Even if a doctor has ordered a blood draw or injection, the patient has the right to refuse any venipuncture.

Assault

You may be surprised to see assault on a list of legal issues in phlebotomy. Unfortunately, they are lurking closer to the surface than you might think. If a phlebotomist threatens someone with a needle, they have committed assault. Simply put, assault is defined as making someone fear that you will use force to harm them. This can be a sensitive issue for phlebotomists because many people have a fear of needles and the pain associated with venipuncture. A well-trained phlebotomist will know how to deal with patients in a safe and legal manner.

Battery

Assault simply involves causing someone to fear that bodily harm will come to them. For the crime of battery to take place, actual physical contact must occur. In phlebotomy, this can be an issue if a phlebotomist forces an injection on a patient against their will. If a phlebotomist intentionally holds a patient down or uses more force than necessary, he has committed battery. This can not only end a career, it can lead to ruinous lawsuits and criminal charges.

Another issue that falls into the category of assault and battery is use of a dirty needle. Even if no excessive force is used, a dirty needle can cause life-altering harm to a patient. A phlebotomist is legally responsible for ensuring the sterility of all equipment in his or her care.

Confidentiality

A patient has the right to know that their personal information will not be spread by the medical professionals who are in charge of their care. Blood withdrawals are often associated with testing for sensitive diseases, and phlebotomists will be privy to confidential information about many patients. They have a legal obligation to maintain their patients’ privacy. The law describing a patient’s right to medical privacy is commonly referred to as HIPAA. Under HIPAA, a patient has a right to confidentiality regarding any identifying information, including their diagnosis, treatment, and even birthday.

Negligence

Even if a phlebotomist has not committed one of the crimes listed above, they can still be held liable for negligence. Negligence involves four elements: duty, breach, cause, and harm. This essentially means that for a patient to sue a medical practitioner, they must show that the practitioner failed in executing their duty to the patient, which was the direct cause of harm. This may sound simple, but it has been the subject of countless long courtroom battles. Following basic phlebotomy principles is one of the best ways for a phlebotomist to help prevent charges of negligence.

Malpractice

Malpractice is a term for the type of civil lawsuits that patients generally bring against medical practitioners who have failed to follow the standard of care. If a phlebotomist is facing a malpractice suit, they are not in danger of going to jail, but they may face other severe consequences. Depending on their jurisdiction and the severity of the harm caused, a jury may award the injured party a significant financial reward.

Medical practitioners take out malpractice insurance so that they can safely afford to pay for the damages awarded in malpractice suits. Phlebotomists can choose to purchase their own malpractice insurance or they may be covered by their supervising physician. However, ultimate cost of a malpractice lawsuit may be the loss of a profitable career rather than the payment of damages. Malpractice insurance premiums often rise after a lawsuit, leading many professionals unable to continue in their chosen career paths.

Interested in learning more?

You now know more about the basics of legal issues in phlebotomy. These issues are not incidental to a safe and successful phlebotomy career; rather, they are absolutely integral. In the modern world, it is impossible to be an ethical member of a medical team without awareness of the often complicated legal issues that surround the field.

The issues discussed here are only the tip of the iceberg. If you are interested in pursuing your education and learning more about phlebotomy, contact PhlebotomyU today. We’ll give you guidance as you join this exciting and dynamic profession.

Is Bruising After Blood Donation Normal?

Many people feel anxiety about donating blood. They may be worried about the pain or nervous about the possibility of feeling light-headed or even fainting. Despite this, blood donations are an increasingly common part of modern medicine. Blood donation centers can be found everywhere, and it is likely you will someday be met with an opportunity to donate. If you have already donated blood, you may have been one of many to find an unwelcome surprise on your arms later on in the form of bruises. You’ve probably stopped to ask yourself, “Is bruising after blood donation normal?” Fortunately, though it may not be pleasant, bruising is an entirely normal issue in the field of phlebotomy. While not everyone will experience bruising every time they donate blood, if you are donating blood on a regular basis, it will almost certainly happen to you at some point. In this article, you can find out more about what causes bruising and how it can be prevented.

What causes bruising after blood donation?

The human body is host to about 100,000 miles of blood vessels. Bruising occurs when blood leaks from one of those blood vessels and pools under the skin. People have varying degrees of susceptibility to bruising. Some can suffer significant injuries with limited bruising, but others find themselves covered with bruises from seemingly minor accidents.

During a blood donation, the phlebotomist will insert a needle into a blood vessel to draw blood out of the body. In the course of this process, blood may spill from the blood vessel. It is also possible that another minor vein or capillary will be damaged in the process of donating blood. It is difficult for even the most skilled phlebotomist to avoid hitting all veins and capillaries during this process. 

Even if bruising does not occur during the blood donation process, it is important for donors and phlebotomists alike to practice proper aftercare. After donating, donors should apply pressure to the donation site to prevent blood from leaking out under the skin. They should also avoid lifting heavy objects for the remainder of the day, as this can cause additional bruising.

What can be one to avoid bruising?

Although bruising is common, donors can take action to avoid bruising. If you are planning a blood donation, avoid wearing tight clothes, as this can create unnecessary compression on the veins. A skilled phlebotomist will also be able to offer advice that can help minimize bruising. Throughout the donation process, it is important to follow any instructions your phlebotomist gives you, as this can help ensure a painless donation and decrease your chance of bruising. Fortunately, the science and technology associated with phlebotomy are always improving. Hospitals have even recently begun to introduce a new needle designed to decrease the pain associated with blood draws. Knowing this, you should be able to walk into your blood donation with confidence.

After your donation is complete, you should be careful with the arm that was used for a donation. Although you might not be feeling any pain, your body still has to work to heal itself following blood donation. After you have donated blood, a small clot will begin to form over the puncture in the blood vessel used for donation. This may sound alarming, but it is completely normal. However, agitating or exercising the donation site may dislodge the clot and cause blood to leak out into the arm. For this reason, it is a good idea to avoid choosing a donation site in your dominant arm. If you have the opportunity, you should sit and relax for a few minutes after your donation. The healing process begins immediately after the donation has ended, and it is in your best interest to allow this process to occur unimpeded.

What should I do if bruising occurs?

In most instances, bruising does not require special treatment. You can simply use a cold compress or ice pack on the bruising site to minimize pain. Donors should always consult a doctor before taking any pain medication. It is usually inadvisable to take ibuprofen or aspirin for at least 24 hours after donation, as these medications can interfere with the clotting process.

In some severe cases, it may be necessary to consult a doctor. If you experience severe pain, pain that does not diminish, numbness, swelling, or inflammation, you should seek medical treatment immediately. This is extremely rare, and most people will find that their post blood donation symptoms will be limited to some soreness, bruising, and stiffness around the donation site. You may find the bruising seems to grow in area before it disappears. This is also completely normal and is a sign that the blood is no longer concentrated around the donation site.

Interested in learning more about blood drawing?

If you would like to learn more about blood donation and phlebotomy, PhlebotomyU is here to help! Contact us today to take the first steps towards a fulfilling career as a phlebotomist. We have all the resources you need to make your dream a reality.  

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!

Theranos Case Study: Where the Line Was Crossed

By now, you’ve likely heard of the Theranos incident involving Elizabeth Holmes. It goes down as one of the all-time failures in the phlebotomy technology industry. It wasn’t all that long ago that Holmes, the founder of Theranos, appeared on covers of Time Magazine, showcased as one of the most promising business icons of this generation. The tables have turned, however—let’s take a look.

A Brief Overview

Theranos was a health technology corporation considered as the “next big thing” in the realm of blood testing. It was founded in 2003 by Elizabeth Holmes, who was only 19 years old at the time. The selling point of Theranos’ blood collection technology was that it only required 1/100 to 1/1000 of the blood amount that would normally be required for testing. The operating costs of this new testing system was considerably lower than traditional methods. Theranos received a $10 billion valuation by 2013, partially due to Holmes raising more than $700 million in venture capital. Hence, partnerships were formed with Safeway, Walgreens, the Cleveland Clinic, and more.

Elizabeth Holmes

Elizabeth Holmes, the founder of Theranos, was born in Washington D.C. Her family had connections in business and politics, as her father was a vice president at Enron, and her mother was a Congressional committee staffer. In 2004, Holmes dropped out of Stanford and used the unallocated tuition funding to start a consumer healthcare technology company. This company was called “Real-Time Cures” and had the mission of democratizing healthcare. Holmes claimed that her fear of needles was motivation to create a blood test that only requires a small amount of blood from the tip of a finger. Her company was incorporated as “Theranos” in April of 2004.

The Downfall

Everything started to go downhill as of October 2015 when John Carreyrou, a reporter from The Wall Street Journal, publicly challenged the credibility of Theranos’ technology. He was tipped off by ex-Theranos-employee, Tyler Shultz. Carreyrou then reported that instead of using their patented Edison devices to run blood tests, Theranos was merely using traditional blood testing machines. Carreyrou argued that Theranos’ Edison machines may not be reporting accurate blood test results. This led to a surplus of legal and commercial challenges from medical authorities, outraged investors, the SEC, the CMS, state attorneys general, and patients reliant on Theranos’ technology.

Everything continued to unravel from here. Walgreens put its plans to expand blood-testing centers in all stores on pause. The Cleveland Clinic created an investigation, working to verify if Theranos technology actually served its purpose. Formal FDA inspections were conducted, and Theranos’ technology failed many components of the tests. At this point, Theranos announced it would suspend its testing voluntarily.

Crossing the Line

John Carreyrou proclaimed the Theranos incident as “one of the most epic failures in corporate governance in the annals of American capitalism.” Many people believe that the somewhat shady culture of Silicon Valley led to the fraudulent business taking shape. The “win at all cost” and “fake it until you make it” ideologies helped many entrepreneurs become successful in the valley, but Theranos taught us that these same mantras should not be applied to the medical field where human lives are at stake.

The lack of accountability also played a role. The board of Theranos and federal regulators did not oversee operations to an acceptable extent. Furthermore, potential whistleblowers were met with threats of lawsuits. This toxic culture was purely unsustainable. False representation is a serious offense in business, and in the medical industry, it is purely unacceptable. Holmes falsely represented her technology to all kinds of stakeholders including investors, doctors, and patients.

Justice is bringing Holmes and Theranos back down to earth. Currently, Holmes and former chief operating officer and president Ramesh Balwani are facing criminal charges. They have pleaded not guilty, but potentially face 20 years in prison. Let this entire situation be a lesson that Silicon Valley startups led by seemingly invincible leadership are often more fragile than they seem. Carreyrou exclaims, “When you enter industries where lives are in the balance, you can’t really just iterate and debug as you’re going. You have to get your product working first.” If you have any questions about Theranos, blood withdrawal, or phlebotomy training, feel free to contact PhlebotomyU today.

Summer Phlebotomy Courses are Easier Than You Think

Have you considered taking a phlebotomy course over the Summer? Many people think about it but are then intimidated by the perceived commitment it takes to go through a course and achieve NCCT phlebotomy certification. Did you know that a phlebotomy course could fill just one-third of your Summer? Let’s explore why Summer phlebotomy courses are easier than most people think.

How Easy are Summer Phlebotomy Courses?

First, let’s go over the prerequisites for taking Summer phlebotomy courses. Before you enroll in a CPT1 phlebotomy certification course, you must meet several requirements. You must be a high school graduate or have a GED, and you must be able to pass a basic reading comprehension test. Students are typically subjected to a basic background check and drug screen as well. All in all, eligibility for Summer phlebotomy courses isn’t very complicated.

Students actively participate in lectures, labs, and clinical settings in order to attain the knowledge and skills necessary to take and pass the national exam. Here are some basic phlebotomy principles that will be emphasized:

  • Blood withdrawal from veins
  • Order of draw
  • Anatomy and physiology
  • Post-puncture care
  • Anti-contamination practices
  • Saf bio-hazard techniques

What is the Time and Effort Commitment?

 Summer Phlebotomy courses can be completed in as little as one month. Here is the breakdown of common Summer phlebotomy course hours:

  • Basic didactic phlebotomy training: 20 hours
  • Advanced didactic phlebotomy training: 20 hours
  • Interactive classroom phlebotomy training: 40-60 hours

A clinical externship is part of most Summer phlebotomy courses. Externships can last from 40 to 120 hours in a partnering clinic or hospital. After you’ve completed your hours and externship experience, then it’s time to take the NCCT phlebotomy exam. This test consists of 145 questions covering six main categories. Good news–while official NCCT certification is a highly esteemed accolade, it isn’t too hard to attain. The most recently reported passing rate was over 75% for first-time exam takers.

Where and When to Take Phlebotomy Courses Over Summer

Are you ready to earn national certification and jump into your phlebotomy career? PhlebotomyU offers the following 2019 Summer phlebotomy courses.

summer phlebotomy courses

PhlebotomyU Offers an Ideal Summer Phlebotomy Course

Hopefully we’ve provided enough evidence that Summer phlebotomy courses are not as difficult an undertaking as one might initially think. One month at PhlebotomyU is all it takes to attain NCCT certification. (plus your willingness to learn) Have questions regarding courses? Feel free to contact us. We hope to see you in the classroom this summer!

Phlebotomy Externship FAQ

Considering pursuing a career in phlebotomy? You will likely partake in a phlebotomy externship before receiving official certification. Many people are unsure what exactly a phlebotomy externship entails. Let’s take a look at some frequently asked questions.

What is a phlebotomy externship?

A phlebotomy externship is an opportunity to use your knowledge gained from a phlebotomy education program, and put it to practical use.

Do I get paid?

Phlebotomy externships are typically unpaid. The hands-on experience you will obtain is extremely valuable however, as it provides you a chance to work under the guidance of seasoned phlebotomy professionals.

Is completing a phlebotomy externship required for certification?

A clinical phlebotomy externship is required in the state of California. Although, most other states do not require completion of a clinical externship.

Where are phlebotomy externships done?

Externships are usually undertaken in hospitals or clinics affiliated with your phlebotomy training program. This can vary due to what clinical facilities are located around your specific phlebotomy training program.

How long is the externship experience?

Generally, phlebotomy externships are between 40 and 120 hours. On average, these hours are dispersed over the course of four weeks.

Can I pick where I complete my externship?

Phlebotomy training programs typically assign externs to designated locations. Don’t fret, most externship facilities are credible and prepare you for your career in phlebotomy—this is emphasized at PhlebotomyU.

Is attendance and punctuality important?

Try your best to show up every day of the externship. Treat it like a real job. You will surely have to make up any days or hours missed. Attendance and punctuality are vitally important for both externships, and full-time phlebotomy jobs.

Is there usually a dress code?

Phlebotomy externships typically require a dress code. Hair past the shoulders should be pulled back. Sweat pants, joggers, and torn pants are generally not allowed. Tops and shirts should not be fluorescently colored, denim, or transparent. Closed-toed shoes are strictly required. Fingernails must be trimmed, and no artificial nails are allowed. Finally, avoid wearing perfume or cologne, as it could cause an allergic reaction to patients or fellow externs.

Will I work with actual patients?

Indeed, you will. Along with other healthcare professionals, you will have the opportunity to treat actual patients under supervision. After a bit of training, you will be tasked with drawing blood out of real patients. Keep in mind, that mistakes will be made—even phlebotomy technicians with years of experience can miss the vein. Many patients come in dehydrated, therefore making it difficult to puncture a vein, as well.

Will a phlebotomy externship directly lead to a job?

You never know—but if you show enthusiasm to learn, and execute your phlebotomy skills effectively, then there is a good chance you will receive a phlebotomy job offer by the end of your externship experience. At the very least, you may be able to obtain a strong letter of recommendation from your supervisor.

Which educational phlebotomy program should I choose?

Your ideal phlebotomy career is awaiting you. After attending PhlebotomyU, and completing an externship, you can obtain your CDPH-approved Phlebotomy certificate. PhlebotomyU takes pride in training and preparing students with the necessary skills required to succeed throughout their Phlebotomy training experience, and beyond. Career services help students get externships, and full-time jobs after becoming certified. Have questions regarding phlebotomy externships? Don’t hesitate to contact us with any questions.

Is Education for Phlebotomist Jobs Worth it?

The BLS estimates that phlebotomy positions will increase by 25% between 2014 and 2024. An increase of 28,100 phlebotomy jobs shows much more growth than the average US job market. Phlebotomy technician salaries are also increasing. Are you interested in becoming a phlebotomist, but unsure about the educational requirements? Let’s take a look at whether or not education is worth it to enter the field of phlebotomy.

What is Phlebotomy Education?

A phlebotomy education is typically undertaken in order to attain a CPT1 certification. This is commonly done through the NCCT—an accredited testing organization. National certification is not technically “required,” but it is extremely helpful and almost essential in obtaining employment as a phlebotomist.

Many degree-based schools such as community colleges will hold phlebotomy certificate programs that can either work with a 2-year or 4-year program or as a stand-alone certificate. These classes are commonly offered in a unit-based format ranging between 6 and 10 unit hours over the course of an academic semester. Medical Vocational Schools offer phlebotomy training programs as well, some in similar unit-based formats.

Many training programs offer hands-on classroom training that allows you to attain your CPT1 certification in 5 weeks. PhlebotomyU, for example, is a 5-week course that includes 20 hours of basic didactic training, 20 hours of advanced didactic training, 40-60 hours of hands-on classroom training, and 40-120 externship hours with a partnering clinic or hospital.

Pros of Getting a Phlebotomy Education

  • Certification is required in a few states, so you may have to take the certification test, regardless. To pass this test you will need to enroll in a program specializing in education for phlebotomists. California is one of the few states that requires “all persons who are not doctors, nurses or clinical lab scientists” to have a current license, to participate in blood withdrawal.
  • Because going through the process of phlebotomy training is fairly simple, (compared to other medical fields) more and more people are becoming educated and certified. This means that there is more competition in the phlebotomy job market, highly favoring those who have taken the time to train and become certified.
  • There is a large potential for advancement once you receive a phlebotomy education. Many certified phlebotomists decide to advance to careers such as medical assistants, surgical technologists, neurodiagnostic technologists and other highly advanced occupations.

Cons of Getting a Phlebotomy Education

  • Many phlebotomy educational institutions only offer programs that take more than six months to become certified. Most people are unwilling to wait this long to start earning a salary. The costs of these longer-duration programs tend to be higher, as well.
  • Numerous phlebotomy education programs charge over $4000 for a CPT1 course, and many do not include course materials and lab supplies in these costs.
  • There is a barrier to participating in phlebotomy training programs. One must have a high school diploma or GED in order to apply and take the certification test.

The Phlebotomy Education Verdict

Hence, is education for phlebotomist jobs really worth it? If you intend to become a phlebotomist, then we strongly encourage you to partake in a phlebotomy educational program. The pros simply outweigh the cons. Courses are available in California for becoming a Limited Phlebotomy Technician, Certified Phlebotomy Technician I, and Certified Phlebotomy Technician II. An LPT is only permitted to perform skin puncture and blood collection. A CPT I can perform venipuncture. A CPT II can perform arterial puncture. Choose which phlebotomy course you take depending on the license you wish to pursue.

PhlebotomyU offers a CPT1 Full Course which includes nearly everything you need to get nationally certified and apply for your California phlebotomy license. The competitive price of $2,900 includes a clinical externship as well.

How to Attain Education for Phlebotomist Jobs

Your ideal phlebotomy career is waiting for you. If you want to be successful in the field, a proper phlebotomy education is essentially a prerequisite. After attending PhlebotomyU, you can obtain a CDPH-approved Phlebotomy certificate. PhlebotomyU prides itself in training and preparing students with the necessary skills required to succeed throughout their Phlebotomy career. Valuable assets offered include readily available career services, and a hands-on phlebotomy internship. Still weighing the benefits and drawbacks of pursuing a phlebotomy education? We’d be happy to talk—contact us with any questions.

Basic Phlebotomy Principles

If you are considering entering the field of phlebotomy, it is a good idea to learn about the underlying phlebotomy principles first. We will provide a brief overview of infection control, anatomy and physiology, puncture site selection and preparation, order of draw, and post-puncture care.

Basic Infection Control

Standard operating procedures must be followed when it comes to infection control and quality assurance. These steps should be made available to phlebotomists in a clinical environment. To effectively control and prevent infections, proper hygiene-materials must be used. Here is a list of hygienic materials to be kept in a medical environment conducting phlebotomy:

  • Soap
  • Water
  • Alcohol rub
  • Non-sterile gloves
  • Single-use disposable needles
  • Syringes/lancing devices

In the same sense, contaminated phlebotomy equipment must be discarded in an appropriate manner. Did you know that up to 25% of tourniquets are contaminated through inadequate hand-hygiene? Also, hepatitis B has been known to spread through reusing finger-prick devices. Needles, syringes, and blood sampling devices should be disposed into a puncture-resistant sharps container, in order to uphold proper phlebotomy safety standards. It is important to know which pieces of equipment can be reused, versus what should be discarded.

Basic Anatomy and Physiology

Knowledge of anatomy and physiology is one of the most crucial phlebotomy principles. Anatomy is the study of body structure, and physiology is the study of body function. This topic as it relates to phlebotomy is a major focus in phlebotomy schools—an understanding of the basics is required to be a successful phlebotomy technician.

Proper Selection and Preparation of Skin Puncture Site

Site selection can make or break a phlebotomy procedure. Generally, you want to examine a patient’s extended forearm. Locate a sizable vein that is visible, straight and clear. A good place to start is the median cubital vein, because it is the easiest to puncture successfully. It is wise to avoid the basilic vein, in order to negate the possibility of damaging the nerve or artery. It is also a considerably more painful blood withdrawal. Vein diversions should also be avoided, to decrease the chance of a hematoma.

It is important to disinfect the entry site before puncturing. Clean the site with a 70% alcohol (not povidone iodine) swab for 30 seconds while applying a gentle pressure. Allow some time for the site to dry. This decreases the contamination risks. After the site is cleaned, it is imperative that you do not touch the site with your finger, as this will commonly result in an infection.

Order of Draw      

Blood must be collected in tubes in a very specific order. This phlebotomy principle is referred to as “Order of Draw.” It can be somewhat difficult to remember. Here are the 9 elements of order of draw:

  1. Color varies-blood cultures
  2. Light blue-sodium citrate
  3. Red-clot activator
  4. Gold-SST
  5. Light green-lithium heparin
  6. Dark green-sodium heparin
  7. Lavender-EDTA
  8. Gray-Sodium Fluoride
  9. Yellow-ACD Solution

A helpful way of remembering the color order is, “Boys Love Ravishing Girls Like Dieters Love Greek Yogurt.” (blood culture, light blue, red, gold, light green, dark green, lavender, gray, yellow) Make sure to verify that your laboratory is using the same colors and descriptions.

Post-Puncture Care

After blood withdrawal has occurred, a major phlebotomy principle is cleaning contaminated surfaces and completing interactions with the patient. Double checking the phlebotomy labels and forms helps to ensure accurate standards of information. Hand hygiene should be performed once again, to protect against infections. Check if the patient is feeling satisfactory. Then, make sure that the needle insertion site is not bleeding. Once these final post-operation steps are taken, the patient is free to leave. The next step is to prepare and transport blood samples—this process is an educational focus of certified phlebotomy training programs.

Master Phlebotomy Principles at PhlebotomyU

This guide acts as a basic introduction to the principles of phlebotomy; it alone does not adequately prepare you to be a certified phlebotomist. PhlebotomyU on the other hand, has the sole purpose of educating individuals on the most up-to-date trends in blood analysis, venipuncture, and everything else related to phlebotomy. Basic and advanced phlebotomy principles will be covered in-depth. Interested in becoming a certified phlebotomist and entering a highly in-demand workforce? Contact us today, for more information on pursuing your CDLH-approved phlebotomy license.