How to Draw Blood

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How to Draw Blood. There are precise steps that must be followed when a health care worker draws blood. These steps protect the patient, ensure the safety of the phlebotomist or nurse drawing the blood and lead to a successful blood draw. Learn to draw blood safely and effectively using a vacutainer and needle with syringe.

Ask the patient his name and date of birth. Make sure he answers with his full name and full date of birth to ensure his identity. Mark all specimen tubes with his identification and pull on protective gloves to protect yourself from bodily fluids.

Set out all of the tubes you need by the order of the draw and have any necessary tools (tourniquet and alcohol swabs) nearby.

Draw blood from the most common point--the median cubital vein--which runs on the inner part of the forearm. This is the optimum vein because it's close to the skin surface and there aren't a lot of nerves surrounding it.

Prep the chosen location by placing a tourniquet on the upper part of the arm, tight enough to make the vein bulge. Gently pat the vein and look at it's size. Find the best angle from which to draw the blood.

Insert the needle into the vein with a smooth, fast motion. This technique helps lessen pain.

Push the vacutainer (blood specimen tube) into the holder, keeping the needle steady. The vacutainer will automatically start filling with the right amount of blood needed for a specific specimen. If using an old-fashioned syringe and needle system, manually pull back on the syringe to start filling the tube with blood.

Pull the needle out at the same angle you inserted it once the last specimen is collected. Immediately dispose of the needle in the proper place and apply gauze to the patient's wound, holding it to apply pressure.

Mix the specimens thoroughly by gently swishing them around. Confirm that each specimen is labeled correctly.


Use the old-fashioned needle and syringe system for those with compromised or small veins. Young children, older adults and those who have small veins benefit from the butterfly needle and syringe.


Always remove the last vacutainer before taking the needle out of the arm. Mix specimens thoroughly after you've finished collecting the blood. Not mixing them well enough could lead to false test results.


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