If you have ever had lab work, received a blood transfusion or donated blood, you have likely interacted with a phlebotomist.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, a phlebotomist draws blood for blood donations, research, blood transfusions or blood tests. Many medical settings, such as doctors’ offices, blood donation centers, laboratories and hospitals, have phlebotomists as valuable members of their team.

Phlebotomists mainly draw blood from veins, but they can also draw blood from capillaries when not as much blood is needed for a sample. Some phlebotomists also take samples of hair, stool, saliva or urine.

To become a phlebotomist, individuals must have a high school diploma and complete job training. Some phlebotomists have completed a postsecondary phlebotomy course or earned additional certifications.

Phlebotomists value safety. They wash their hands frequently, wear gloves and disinfect the location where they take their sample from.

If you interact with a phlebotomist for a blood test, the phlebotomist may:

  1. Ask you to state your name and date of birth
  2. Ask you if you are concerned about anything
  3. Ask if you give consent for the test or procedure
  4. Find a vein and apply a tourniquet
  5. Disinfect the area where blood will be drawn
  6. Insert a needle and take the amount of blood that is needed
  7. Close and label the sample
  8. Remove the tourniquet and the needle
  9. Apply a cotton ball or gauze to the area
  10. Ask you to hold up your arm for a brief period of time
  11. Place a bandage on the area
  12. Throw away trash and ensure you are OK before you leave
  13. Prepare the blood sample so it can be transferred, processed or stored

Your provider or phlebotomist will be able to answer any specific questions or address any worries you have regarding your lab work or blood transfusion before, during or after your procedure. If you need a provider, UofL Physicians – Primary Care can help. Schedule an appointment by calling 502-588-4343.

Interested in a career as a Phlebotomist at UofL Health? Search our job openings here.

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Pamela Wright, PBT, AS (ASCP)

Pamela Wright, PBT, AS (ASCP), is a phlebotomist supervisor in the UofL Health – UofL Hospital laboratory. She has worked in the UofL Health system for more than 30 years and enjoys learning, growing and educating herself every day.

All posts by Pamela Wright, PBT, AS (ASCP)
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