Young people of today have many more career options available than their parents used to have. One of the careers they can choose is that of a phlebotomist. Although it is a relatively new profession, the job itself is as old as modern medicine. Phlebotomy is the science (or art if you like) of drawing blood from the patient’s body for the purpose of testing or transfusion.
Until recently, doctors and nurses used to perform this task themselves. They still do in many parts of the world. But when they are so busy, cases of oversight and negligence are bound to happen. This led to many lawsuits and convinced the hospitals about the necessity of professional phlebotomists. Thus, phlebotomy was born as a distinct career option.
A phlebotomist makes an incision in the vein of a live person or animal and draws blood using a syringe. The process is known as venipuncture, which is a very straightforward task causing very little pain to the subject. Simple as it may sound, this is high precision job requiring expertise and patience. Therefore, a phlebotomist has to be a trained professional who loves his/her job.
A phlebotomist may have to work long hours and provide onsite service during natural and man-made disasters. He/she also has to be good at interpersonal communications and be able to soothe people and allay their fear of syringes. Impromptu counseling is a regular part of a phlebotomist’s job as many patients are fearful of syringes and the sight of blood.
To become a qualified phlebotomist, you have to complete a formal course and obtain certification from an NAACLS accredited institution. NAACLS stands for National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Science. There are about 10 institutions in the USA that offer a course in phlebotomy and each has its own program. Most courses are of a few weeks to a few months. But if you want specialization, then you should attend the full course, which is of two years.
As a phlebotomist, you will make between $30,000 and $39,000 per annum. You may not find it very attractive when comparing with other medical professions, but this is amply compensated by the employment opportunities available. Phlebotomists are hired by hospitals, private clinics, blood banks, private testing labs, pathology labs, research labs, pharmaceutical companies and veterinary clinics.
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