Phlebotomy is the act of drawing blood from patients. Drawing blood and running blood tests is important for a number of medical issues, and a good phlebotomist is valuable to any medical facility. Knowing how to properly draw blood with the least amount of pain takes considerable skill and practice, and phlebotomists are paid well for their skills.
Phlebotomy is a relatively new procedure in the medical world, with certified technicians becoming popular in the past 30 years. The art of phlebotomy has become much simpler as technology has advanced, with blood drawing and containment procedures becoming much safer and more sterile.
The duties of a phlebotomist can be complex, and their salaries reflect the amount of time and training that goes into proper skill development. Many hospitals and doctors' offices offer bonuses for phlebotomists, because they are in high demand in various parts of the world. The starting salary for a phlebotomist is in the $28,000 range, not counting any bonuses or other benefits. Bonuses in the $1,000 to $2,500 range are not uncommon.
The basic function of a phlebotomist is to draw blood from people in need of laboratory testing. The phlebotomist locates an appropriate source of blood, such as a large vein, and isolates the area. She then inserts a sterile needle into the vein and attaches the proper blood-collection vial. These vials are coded according to the type of test the doctor has requested and are transported to the lab for proper testing. Blood can be drawn from anywhere, as long as the phlebotomist properly sterilizes the area prior to insertion. Blood work is an extremely accurate diagnostic tool, so a well-trained phlebotomist is important in evaluating the health of patients.
A well-trained phlebotomist can draw blood from any patient in any condition, and does so with as little pain as possible. A facility that values its phlebotomists pays them well, because a well-paid and happy employee is more likely to continue working in his current position than an unhappy employee. Many employers offer paid time off and tuition assistance to help employees further their educations.
Phlebotomy is not without risks. Patients can be infected with blood-borne transmittable diseases, such as hepatitis and the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), and a phlebotomist must take proper precautions to avoid becoming infected. Many inner-city and impoverished agencies have a need for phlebotomists as well, so care must be taken in locations where accidental infections are more likely to occur because of a high percentage of infected patients.