If you are familiar with medical terminology, then you’ve likely heard of “venipuncture.” It plays a key role in the world of phlebotomy. Let’s take a closer look at what venipuncture truly means, the basic steps in the venipuncture process, common venipuncture equipment, and the various withdrawal sites.
It is the collection of blood from veins. It is most often performed for the purpose of laboratory testing. It is done with a needle, and typically performed by a phlebotomist. Venipuncture may also be performed in order to remove extra red blood cells from the blood, to treat various blood disorders.
There are many factors at play during a procedure. For example, “Order of Draw” is a vital concept to understand, for the purpose of avoiding cross-contamination of additives between tubes. Venipuncture is actually one of the most routinely performed invasive procedures. There are five primary reasons for performing a venipuncture:
- Obtaining blood for diagnostic purposes
- Monitoring levels of blood components
- Administering therapeutic treatments (medications, nutrition, chemotherapy)
- Removing blood due to excess levels of iron or erythrocytes (red blood cells)
- Collecting blood for later uses (transfusion in the donor)
Here is our master list of steps to practicing venipuncture successfully. In a phlebotomy course, these steps will be broken down and taught with hands-on training by professional educators.
1. Review the order of draw
2. Gather the supply tray and cart
3. Approach, identify, and prepare the patient for the process
4. Maintain proper hand-hygiene
5. Apply the tourniquet, ask the patient to make a fist, and assess the antecubital space
6. Select a vein, release the tourniquet, and ask the patient to relax their fist
7. Cleanse the site thoroughly
8. Put on clean gloves and prepare your equipment
9. Reapply the tourniquet, have the patient make a fist, and uncap the needle
10. Properly anchor the vein and insert the needle
11. Establish blood flow and have the patient open his or her fist, then release the tourniquet
12. Fill tubes using the correct order of draw and mix tubes
13. Place gauze, remove the needle, and apply appropriate pressure to the site
14. Discard the collection unit
15. Label the tubes
16. Implement special handling techniques
17. Check and inspect the patient’s arm, then apply a bandage
18. Dispose of the materials and clean up
19. Remove your gloves, perform hand hygiene techniques, and thank the patient
20. Securely transport specimens to the lab for testing
The equipment used during a blood test can vary, but the following are most commonly used:
- Collection tubes
- Disposal unit
Phlebotomists do not always draw blood from the same area and site in the human body. Venipuncture is most commonly performed on the Antecubital Fossa, which is the inside of the elbow. In this region, phlebotomists will usually decide between three veins including the median cubital vein, the cephalic vein, and the basilic vein. If all of these veins in the inside elbow area do not look promising, then the phlebotomy technician may choose a dorsal vein in the hand or worst case, a vein in the foot. Semi-common problems include improper blood flow from the vein, which causes phlebotomists to switch sites.
Our CPT1 5-week course emphasizes proper venipuncture training. An on-site sitting of the NCCT National Phlebotomy Certification Exam is included with the training program. Furthermore, certified radiologic technicians in California are required to take a 10-hour safe venipuncture training course in order to safely perform venipuncture for administering contrast x-rays. We have created a didactic course that allows radiologic technicians to safely and legally perform venipuncture in California. Are you considering enrolling in a phlebotomy class with PhlebotomyU and have questions? Don’t hesitate to contact us today.