Looking for an inside take on how to draw blood like a pro? If you’re beginning your journey to becoming a phlebotomist — or considering embarking on one — this overview of drawing blood like a pro will help prep you for peak performance.
- Prep Your Supplies
One of the most important points to keep in mind is that a safe and effective blood draw begins before the phlebotomist approaches a patient.
Nowhere is this more evident than in the World Health Organization’s (WHO) blood draw guidelines — much of which discusses preparation and supplies more so than the blood draw itself.
Supplies you’ll need include needles for collecting the blood and tubes for collecting it, gloves and hand sanitizer, a tourniquet, and gauze. Many healthcare institutions have kits containing the required equipment. Otherwise, you’ll need to collect the supplies listed above and others.
Blood can be very toxic. You must exercise great care during its collection; having proper supplies on hand will help ensure this.
- Interact with the Patient
More than an opportunity to display a pleasant bedside manner, interacting with the patient is vital. This is your opportunity to confirm the patient’s identity using the information you have on hand and by asking the patient for his or her name. You’ll also want to address with the patient any allergens listed on the information you have.
Interacting with the patient is also a good way to gauge their level of anxiety, if any. If the patient expresses concern, it might be best to have him or her lie down. Otherwise, you may be able to alleviate their anxiety and the potential of them fainting by explaining the procedure (even talking through it) or suggesting the patient look away, close their eyes, and breath slowly.
3. Find the Right Vein
Next, identify the vein from which you’ll draw blood. Your top choices will likely be:
- The median cubital vein
- The basilic vein
- The cephalic vein
What qualifies the median cubital vein as a good first option? It is prominent on the arm and becomes even more noticeable when pressure is applied. (It’s equally important to avoid certain areas when drawing blood. Those include hematomas and wounds.)
- Draw the Blood
Whether the patient is seated or standing, ensure their arm is positioned and prepped effectively. That means it’ll need to be hyperextended, with a clenched fist and tourniquet placed approximately three inches above the draw site. (The site will have been cleaned with an alcohol wipe by now.)
Gently pull the patient’s skin tighter by grabbing the arm. Then insert the blood draw needle. Blood should flow into the collection tube.
- Stressing Safety, Conclude the Draw
Possible exposure to bloodborne pathogens introduces risk to the drawing and handling of blood. Viruses such as Hepatitis B, Hepatitis C, and HIV merit your utmost care.
The blood may be out of the patient’s arm, but that doesn’t mean the blood draw process is done. Now, you must remove the tourniquet from the patient’s arm. Then, remove the needle and apply gauze on the spot where the needle penetrated the skin. Once this is done, all contaminated items must be disposed of in their proper toxic material containers.
Your Phlebotomy Career Begins Here
Phlebotomy Career Training can have you drawing blood like a pro in as little as four weeks. Ready for a career change to a field expected to be strong for many years to come? Then contact us today!