By an allied health world contributing writer
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Employment SettingsPhlebotomist careers are in abundance. The three main places of employment for phlebotomists are hospitals, doctor’s offices, and labs (such as Lab Corp or Quest). There are also opportunities for phlebotomists to work for insurance agencies to draw blood from people applying for life insurance.
Work Schedule/HoursPhlebotomist careers have different hours depending, in large, on whether the phlebotomist is employed at a hospital, lab setting, or doctor’s office. In a hospital setting, these professionals have shift work similar to that of a nurse. Some hospitals have eight-hour shifts and others have 12-hour shifts. Oftentimes for an entry-level person who is new to the phlebotomy field, there may only be third shift options available and in time they can work themselves up to a day shift if desired.
Learn more about the phlebotomy schools. Phlebotomists who work in lab settings have fairly normal hours but these labs have to accommodate outpatients who work full time and need to get their blood drawn before and after work. So it is common for labs to open early (like 6:30 or 7am) and stay open late (until perhaps 6:00pm or 7:00pm). Some labs may even have limited Saturday hours, although this is not always the case. Phlebotomists employed at physician’s offices have “banker’s hours” working the standard Monday through Friday, with regular daytime hours.
Number of PatientsIn a busy outpatient lab setting, a phlebotomist may complete 20-40 venipunctures a day. On average 6-8 can be performed in an hour and each venipuncture takes between 6-10 minutes.
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Work IndependentlyThere is typically just one person performing the blood draw unless they are drawing on a child or baby, in which it may take an extra set of hands to steady the patient.
Reporting StructureLab phlebotomists report to a phlebotomy supervisor who may not work in the same building because they travel to all of the lab locations in the area. If you work at a hospital, the chain of command would typically involve a phlebotomist reporting to a lead phlebotomist. This person manages the phlebotomists on a given shift. Above the lead phlebotomist is a phlebotomy supervisor who manages the lead phlebotomists and is also in charge of many of the “HR duties” such as continuing education, annual evaluations, and new employee interviews. The phlebotomy supervisor reports to a manager that essentially everyone is accountable to.
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Phlebotomy Hot TopicsThere are some newer devices being introduced that can help phlebotomists find a vein. This sophisticated technology, in the form of a hand-held device, projects a map on the surface of the skin based on what it detects beneath the skin in order to help locate a vein.
Safety is always another major topic of discussion in this field since new and improved products are constantly being introduced on a regular basis in order to make phlebotomy safer.
Please visit the phlebotomy salary page in order to learn more about the salaries and benefits of a career in phlebotomy. Also, the phlebotomy job specifics page contains the information that explains the daily tasks phlebotomists experience.
There are also individuals pushing for more regulations in this industry, to follow suit with California where there is an 80-hour minimum requirement for entry into the field. Unfortunately, oftentimes it takes a public outcry in order to change the legislation. The reason California tightened its rules is in a large part due to in 1997 they caught a phlebotomist rinsing and reusing needles, patient after patient. This led to a public outcry, which further led to the legislation following suit.
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