Are you a student looking to pursue a career in phlebotomy? Do you possess all the required qualities to do well as a phlebotomist? If yes, why not consider a career in the field. After all, it is a rewarding profession with so many benefits. However, before deciding whether to choose this career or not, you should understand everything about the job. To help out, we’ve reviewed some of the information you’ll need to know about phlebotomy before deciding whether it’s the right career choice for you or not.
What is Phlebotomy All About?
Phlebotomy is a career path that enables professionals to draw and prepare blood for medical testing, transfusions, and donations. Professionals that work in this field are known as phlebotomists, and they are trained to collect blood via a process called venipuncture. They can also collect blood via finger pricks and heel pricks for infants.
Some phlebotomists might go from house to house to collect blood samples from life insurance applicants. In this case, the blood samples will be used to underwrite procedures to determine their eligibility and rates.
Other phlebotomists work in the clinic. In this case, they draw blood to diagnose or rule out medical conditions. The last set of phlebotomists work at blood banks and are tasked with ensuring blood donors’ safety, comfort, and entertainment while donating vital fluids to save lives. Before deciding whether this is the right career for you, you’d want to ask important questions like “is the phlebotomy exam hard?” Or whether it’s the right career path for you.
What Can Phlebotomy Lead To?
Once you earn your phlebotomy certification, the next step is usually to consider some career options related to what you’ve learned in school. Some career options available to phlebotomy certified individuals include: medical assisting, nursing, physician assistant, medical lab tech, and EKG technician. These are high-paying career options, and a qualified phlebotomist may earn between $29,000 to $100,000 annually working in any of these fields. Bear in mind that you’ll require more classes beyond phlebotomy to qualify for most of these careers. Sometimes, it even requires more schooling.
However, if your possible career move requires extra education and/or licensure, you may find an employer that’ll be willing to help you cover the costs for this extra training.
Here, let’s review some of the most common career paths that phlebotomy can lead you to.
Certified phlebotomists can always seek a career as medical assistants. This way, you’d be assigned roles in different medical offices, such as a physician’s office. As a medical assistant, you’d earn an average of $29,370 per annum. Although your duties as a medical assistant would be more versatile than that of a phlebotomist, you’ll still make a little below them.
EKG (electrocardiograph) Technician
This career focuses on the study of cardiology. If you choose to pursue a career here, your duties would include performing stress tests, recording EKG readings, and providing records and other EKG data to the physician. Working in this field earns you a little below $50,000 annually.
Medical Lab Technician
Professionals in this career path typically work in the laboratory. Their job description includes drawing blood for testing. They’re also charged with analyzing the blood to help diagnose patients. To qualify for a practice license in this career, you’d need an associate’s degree or certification program. Fortunately, your phlebotomist experience can help to make the classes easier. It’ll also enhance your resume, giving you more chances to land your dream job.
Another A-class career related to phlebotomy is nursing. Nursing typically requires more education, and it charges you with more responsibility. However, your phlebotomy certification is a good place to start. Once you’re done with phlebotomy, you can go on to pursue other related certifications. On average, nurses earn about $69,000 annually. So you know it’s worth all the stress.
What is the Most Challenging Part of Being a Phlebotomist?
By now, you already know that phlebotomy is a challenging career that requires knowledge, dedication, and total attention to detail. It’s not always fun and smooth, even for the most experienced phlebotomist. Once you start, you’d learn that different patients typically present unique challenges, and these challenges can make an average day at work turn sour.
But what is the hardest part of being a phlebotomist? It’s usually hard to pinpoint the most challenging part of practicing this career. However, here’s a review of some of the challenging parts to prepare you for what’s to come.
Trying to Draw Blood from Children Whose Parents are Not Restricting Them
The whole process of drawing blood from terrified kids can be very challenging. Dealing with screams, cries, and bites from kids can be a hassle, but parents can make it easier. Of course, some hospitals have people specially employed to help restrain kids, but it’s typically easier for parents to just do it.
Often, when parents fail to restrain their kids, all hell breaks loose. These kids flop, kick, wiggle, twist, and stretch, causing problems for the phlebotomists.
Dealing with Needle Fearing Patients
There’s no age restriction to the fear of needles and injections (trypanophobia). Like kids, several adults can have this phobia too. Unfortunately, there’s no sign on the head showing that a patient is terrified of needles. So phlebotomists would have a difficult time figuring that out beforehand. It’s even more challenging when adults kick and scream at the sight of needles. Phlebotomists are often left with the difficult job of calming patients down and getting them ready for the process before inserting any needle into their bodies.
Back Strain from Standing/Bending for Long Periods
We’ve heard people argue that, like phlebotomists, many people stand on their feet throughout work time. But the difference between phlebotomists and most other professionals is that drawing blood often requires a specific set of repetitive motions that can be tasking to the body. You’ll often bend in awkward positions and turn from patient to workstation. These motions may seem simple, but doing them several times a day can result in severe pain in different parts of your body. Experienced phlebotomists understand how painful these conditions can be. Therefore, they’ll often opt for chairs, stations, and supplies that suit their unique working style.
Experiencing Blown Veins
There are so many reasons why this unfortunate but typically harmless condition may happen to a patient. One of the most popular reasons is oversized needles or incorrect insertion. Unfortunately, this is not the only reason. It can also be caused by fragile or sensitive vein walls. Whatever the cause, blown veins can be frightening to both the phlebotomist and the patients. However, more experienced phlebotomists know that there’s nothing to be worried about. You just need to apply proper care to get the vein back to its normal size.
Finding Patients in Transmission
Yes, this seems like an insignificant challenge, but it’s not. This is one problem you must anticipate, even if you work in the most detailed facility in the world. Mistakes and misunderstandings happen, and sometimes, these mistakes lead to reassigning patients to another room without completing the documentation of the change. Such scenarios often leave phlebotomists scrambling while trying to complete their daily rounds.
Is Phlebotomy for You?
If you’re passionate about helping people, you relate well with people, and the sight of blood and other body fluids does not put you off, you should probably consider working as a phlebotomist.
Although phlebotomy is an entry-level job, it is still very rewarding and allows you to work in the hospital. Interestingly, studies show that more and more people are entering this field. But before you take the turn, you’d want the know whether it’s the right career choice for you. One of the easiest ways to know whether phlebotomy is for you is by reviewing the pros and cons of phlebotomy. Like every other career path, there are benefits and risks in this career path. However, if you think you’ll do well in the career after reviewing the benefits and risks of being a phlebotomist, you should pursue it by all means. Some of the significant benefits include
- Stable income
- Cultivation of different personalities
- Extensive employment opportunities
- Flexible working hours
- Solid career
On the other hand, the possible risks include:
- Transmission of infection
- Workplace burnout
- Worksite violence
- Sharp objects accidents
Wrapping Things Up: Is Phlebotomy Hard?
So far, we’ve seen that being a phlebotomist is not as difficult as many people see it to be. However, it requires a lot of training and practice. As a phlebotomist, you’ll learn a lot on the job and get better as you gain experience working with different patients. But don’t jump into the career path if you do not possess the right qualities for it. We’ve covered details on how to know if phlebotomy is for you. We’ve also reviewed how to become a phlebotomist so you’ll know where to start if you choose this career.