Phlebotomy is a specialty that is in high demand. Phlebotomists work in a variety of medical settings such as hospitals, labs and health practices. Their primary job is drawing blood samples for testing, an extremely important task for assessing patient health. The phlebotomist not only draws blood but is also responsible for making certain that specimens are properly labeled to avoid inconvenient and costly errors.
To be sure that a phlebotomist knows his or her stuff, every student must go through extensive training that involves both classwork and hands-on practice. Finally, students must pass a certification exam. In order to make it through this final step, students need to carefully prepare for the test.
The National Center for Competency Training offers its phlebotomy test in many locations. Students have three hours to complete 125 test questions that cover several categories concerning blood-drawing practices. Most of these questions are in a multiple-choice format. However, there are a few exceptions.
Hotspot questions: Students are given a chart or figure with several clickable areas. They will answer a series of questions to prove that they understand the image.
Drag and drop questions: In this format, students must put a group of statements in the right order. These questions focus on procedural knowledge.
Multi-select questions: This type of question is similar to the multiple-choice format. However, students are asked to select more than one correct answer from a series of statements.
The Six Content Categories You Need to Know
The National Phlebotomy Certification Examination covers six content areas that range from legal knowledge to practical aspects of the career. Students must have a decent knowledge of the following areas.
Quality and Professional Issues: Phlebotomy requires direct work with patients. As such, there are several legal aspects of the practice the students need to know. Students will need basic information about HIPAA rules, the Patient’s Bill of Rights and privacy laws around specimen collection. In addition, students will need an understanding of dealing with patients with special needs.
Safety and Infection Control: Working with blood and other samples may mean working with infectious materials. Students must prove that they know how to protect themselves and their fellow staff members against infection. They will also need to prove their knowledge of workplace safety practices.
Order of Draw and Equipment: This section includes questions about the basic materials of phlebotomy. Students will show that they can interpret medical orders and identify common equipment. Learn more about the all-important Order of Draw at the provided link.
Patient ID and Site Preparation: It is critical that a phlebotomist knows the procedures that make certain the right patient gets the right tests. They must also show a knowledge of the proper preparation for a safe blood draw.
Collections: Questions in the category focus on the practical side of phlebotomy. Students will show they know the theory behind an effective blood draw. They will also be asked to display a knowledge of proper sample labeling.
Correcting Issues: This section focuses on cases where a blood draw is complicated by a physical condition, collapsed vein or adverse reaction to the draw. These questions also revolve around the proper procedure when a phlebotomist realizes a mistake has been made in the identification or labeling process.
Phlebotomy Study Tips
Studying for the phlebotomy exam is similar to studying for any major exam. If you have been an attentive student, you have all the knowledge you need to pass the test. Your challenge is to retrieve that knowledge under the pressure of the exam day. There are several strategies you can use to get ready.
Think Procedurally: One of the major concerns of this test is that students understand the many procedures around phlebotomy. You can practice step-by-step procedures by creating flowcharts or checklists for study purposes.
Group Study: Gathering fellow students to study as a group gives you the opportunity to quiz each other. It can also be helpful to talk through procedures with another student. Explaining information is a great way to learn it.
Practice Tests: A week before the test, you might want to find some practice questions or tests to see where you stand. This will allow you to brush up on your weak spots.
On the day of the test, you want to be well-rested and calm. Give yourself plenty of time to get to the testing site. Make sure you get a solid amount of sleep the night before. Eating a healthy breakfast will also help you have the energy to get through a three-hour testing time.
PhlebotomyU: Professional Career Preparation
A solid education will lead to a good score on the phlebotomy test. At PhlebotomyU, we have more than 30 years of experience in helping people enter a career in this important medical field. We work with medical sites throughout Southern California, offering the best training possible. Not only do we offer the phlebotomy exam on-site, but we also prepare you to succeed. Do you think a career in phlebotomy is right for you? Contact us today.