Phlebotomist nurses are specially trained nurses who perform the delicate task of drawing blood samples from patients for testing purposes. They ensure blood samples from patients reach the testing laboratory in good and un-tampered conditions. They are also nurses who are involved in blood donation and transfusion roles.
In addition to drawing blood, some phlebotomist nurses are trained on how to collect fecal and urine samples from patients. But this depends on the curriculum needs of the training program you enroll with.
Requirements to Enroll for Phlebotomist Training Programs
The phlebotomist training program is one of the easiest entry modes to the health care field. The prerequisites are not over the roof and the time required to finish the training is not long. Although is a relatively new career line in the medical profession, the simple requirements for admission is attracting huge numbers of high school graduates.
Most phlebotomist training schools only require a minimum of a high school diploma or GED. However, requirements differ from state to state and you can check with your States’ Board of Nursing to get precise information.
RNs nurses who wish to become phlebotomists can also enroll to training programs at their disposal.
Where to Enroll for Phlebotomy Training for Nurses
Unlike other nursing programs that must be taken at nursing schools, phlebotomy training does not have to take place in a typical nursing institution. Phlebotomy training programs are normally found in vocational schools and community colleges.
Other popular places to get phlebotomy training are through health-related organizations like red cross, hospital based training and in private physician offices. As a precautionary measure any student enrolling for this training must ensure that the school or facility they are enrolled to is accredited to do so by the relevant state authority.
Already registered nurses may not have a hard time in grasping the program concepts of phlebotomy. For them, it is appropriate to take online classes and arrange practical assessments in the hospitals they work in.
Training Duration for Phlebotomists
Usually, students who have just graduated with high school diplomas take an average of one year to complete training in phlebotomy. The number of lecture and practical hours differ from one school to the other, but the most common is 1040 hours of classroom work and practicum.
Some phlebotomist training programs even take a record three months, whereby, students take 40 hours for theory and 90 hours practical sessions including skin and vein punctures. In addition, nurses who wish to be trained in new skills and technologies of phlebotomy may attend short courses that usually take 3 to 7 days to complete.
Some major hospitals may also arrange in-door training to a number of their registered nurses. Those nurses are then trained on-site about concepts of blood drawing, sampling, records keeping and preserving patients’ samples. Normally, a certificate of completion may be issued on such situations.
Typical Courses in Phlebotomy Training
Courses in phlebotomy involve the correct ways of handling patients and samples withdrawn from them. Typical courses will include:
- Clinical laboratory techniques
- Management of blood banks
- Safe laboratory practices
- Disposal of laboratory equipment
- Ethics in health care
- Patient-clinician rapport and patient psychology
- Anatomy and physiology
- Basic math for health sciences
Certification of Phlebotomy Nurses
To get certified as a phlebotomy nurse, you will need to have been trained on the above listed courses and passed successfully. The certification process will then involve a written and practical exam to test your hands-on-skills.
The common certification test look at medical law and ethics, vein puncture and skin punctures, general knowledge on human anatomy and physiology, disinfection, biohazards labeling and disposal, patient preparation for phlebotomy among others.
There are several national organizations that can give you certification. Each of them has different set guidelines for certification. Examples include
American Phlebotomy Association
National Phlebotomy Association
American Society for Clinical Pathology (ASCP)
Board registry of the ASCP
National Credentialing Agency for Lab Personnel