When practicing phlebotomy, medical professionals must have extreme caution. Not following the procedure correctly can result in invalid test results, injury, or death. To master this process, phlebotomists must be detail-oriented. Several people may not have gotten their blood drawn before or are weary of it, and a confident, skilled phlebotomist who is comfortable with this procedure can ease their worries.
How to Master Phlebotomy
All phlebotomists should possess critical medical profession skills, such as attention to detail, ability to relax, and bedside manner. While sticking a needle in a patient may seem odd or provoke fear for many phlebotomists at first, being calm and collected will help you master the procedure overtime. Taking phlebotomy courses at an accredited institution is the most helpful in mastering these skills.
PhlebotomyU offers several courses. In our CPT I classes, students will receive hands on experience and practice this procedure in clinical and classroom settings. Contact PhlebotomyU today to learn which course is best for you.
Phlebotomy Procedure Step by Step
The standard phlebotomy procedure consists of 22 steps:
- Confirm the patient’s identity matches the paperwork you received.
- Check that the tests and samples ordered are correct. This prevents administrative errors and having to ask the patient to come back for additional samples.
- Touch base with the patient and how they are feeling. Ask them if this is their first blood test or if they have any questions that you can answer. Doing this can reduce their anxieties and create a calmer, safer experience for both the phlebotomist and patient.
- Wash your hands for 20 seconds with soap and warm water in front of the patient.
- Bring the supplies near the patient. Remove the needles and other equipment from their fresh packaging.
- Put on gloves.
- Decide which arm you will draw the blood sample from and tie the tourniquet onto the patient. Keep in mind that leaving the tourniquet on the patient’s arm for an extended period can cause damage or injury.
- Find a palpable vein.
- Disinfect the puncture site with an alcohol wipe.
- Wipe down the area with a sterile cotton gauze.
- To insert the needle, anchor the vein with your thumb at approximately one inch below the puncture site, then insert the needle at 15 degrees.
- Install the tube into the hub and assess the blood flow.
- Once the tube is full, carefully remove it from its holder.
- When holding the tube, invert it to mix the sample about 5 to 10 times. Do not shake the sample.
- Repeat steps 12, 13, and 14 until all the testing tubes provided are full. Check in with the patient and see how they are feeling during this process.
- When the last tube is filled, do not remove it from the hub. Untie the tourniquet, then remove the tube and invert it.
- Remove the needle and firmly place cotton gauze onto the puncture site to stop the bleeding.
- Enact the needle’s safety function and dispose of it properly.
- Label all the tubes with the patient’s name, date of birth, and other essential identifiers.
- When the bleeding has stopped, apply a bandage over the wound.
- Dispose of all trash and medical waste properly.
- Check in with the patient and see if they are feeling lightheaded or ill. Provide them with water or a light snack and allow them to rest if necessary.
With each patient, it is important to recognize that these steps can vary if their veins are difficult and tend to roll or require a butterfly needle.
Tips to Help Find a Vein
There are four veins that are utilized most in phlebotomy: the median antecubital vein, cephalic vein, basilic vein, and dorsal hand veins. Some of these veins may be hard to find due to genetic or situational causes, but there are several methods that phlebotomists use to find these veins:
- Gently palpate the patient’s arm to find a vein. Determining which vein is acceptable or not is a skill that many people learn in phlebotomy school
- Use a tourniquet. The slight pressure can increase a vein’s visibility but ensure that the tourniquet is not on for too long because it can lead to severe damage and injury.
- Use a flashlight to illuminate the veins.
- Ask the patient questions about their blood draw history. Have they had their blood drawn before? If so, is there a spot that worked before? Has it been this difficult for other phlebotomists to draw their blood?
- Ask another phlebotomist for help.
- Take a short break and try again in 10-15 minutes.
Enroll at PhlebotomyU Today
After achieving your CPT1 certificate at PhlebotomyU, you will be ready to find your dream phlebotomy job. As a nationally accredited phlebotomy training program, PhlebotomyU prepares its students with the skills they need to succeed afterwards including career services , a phlebotomy internship, and more. Interested? Please don’t hesitate to contact us with any questions.