Phlebotomists are responsible for drawing a patient’s blood for clinical examination, blood donation, transfusion, and research. If you are interested in a career as a phlebotomist or are already one, you will find some tips on this page that can help you create an attractive resume.
We are going to start by looking at the three main types of resumes.
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Job Duties of a Phlebotomist
A phlebotomist works at a hospital, health clinic, surgery ward, as staff, or as a contractor, and their primary duty is to draw blood via the venipuncture technique or with finger sticks. But there are several other responsibilities phlebotomists take on.
Here are the job duties of a phlebotomist:
Drawing blood and bandaging the puncture site.
Explaining procedures to patients, including professionally comforting them during fearful episodes.
Labeling vials correctly with the name of the patient along with the test date.
Identifying the suitable method of drawing blood depending on the age and condition of the patient.
Prepping veins and fingers and choosing suitable gauge needles for drawing blood.
Transferring vials or specimens, including fecal and urine samples, to laboratories carefully.
Reviewing patient documents to identify personal information.
Updating medical records about patients and tests in a computer database, including patient insurance information.
Studying patient history to understand health conditions to adjust the personal approach to tasks.
Ensuring all the related specific protocols are followed before, during, and after the blood drawing procedure. This includes any regulatory, manufacturing, legal, health, and privacy protocols as needed.
Keeping phlebotomy cart and equipment sterilized, clean, and organized at all times.
Phlebotomist Median Salaries
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the annual median salary of phlebotomists is $37,280. However, factors like education, certifications, years of experience, specific skills, and job location will determine the compensation of a phlebotomist.
Top Skills for Phlebotomists
You need a combination of hard and soft skills to succeed in your career as a phlebotomist. Here are the top skills that they should possess:
- Dexterity: Phlebotomists have to use their hands to handle equipment like syringes to draw blood. It is essential for you to be dexterous and have good hand-eye coordination to perform procedures quickly and efficiently. Phlebotomists should be skillful enough to find the vein and draw the blood at the first attempt itself, with minimum or no pain or discomfort to patients.
- Aware of HIPAA compliance: Phlebotomists must be mindful of HIPAA (Human Insurance Portability and Accountability Act) regulations on their job. This is because U.S states have passed this specific law to protect sensitive patient data. You have to ensure HIPAA compliance while dealing with patient information, including personal data, treatment information, and billing data. Not following protocols can lead to heavy HIPAA violation fines or you or your employer losing their health care license.
- Detail-oriented and organized: Phlebotomists encounter many patients on any given day and draw blood many times within a few hours. Paying attention to details so tests are not misplaced or lost is critical. Tracking blood vials, drawing the right amount of blood, entering the correct data, documenting every procedure done each day, and following protocols for infection control and hygiene maintenance recommended by WHO (World Health Organization) are a few of the specific things of which phlebotomists have to be careful.
You also have to be well-organized to know the proper order of procedures. For example, suppose vials of blood are not well-sorted and in the appropriate order. In that case, data could be inputted wrong, doctors could provide an incorrect diagnosis, which may lead to severe physical and mental health problems for patients.
Detail-oriented work also helps keep you safe, as it lowers the risk of being exposed to bloodborne pathogens.
- Expertise in donor screening: Phlebotomists involved in drawing blood for donation purposes should be aware of donor screening protocols established by AABB (American Association of Blood Banks). This is important to ensure the safety of the donor and the patient. As a phlebotomist, you have to follow specific steps like checking the person’s hemoglobin, asking health-related questions, and reviewing health history while screening a blood donor.
- Knowledge of clinical laboratory procedures: Setting up micro-cultures and assisting with other laboratory tasks is often a crucial but secondary task of phlebotomists. Culturing, according to the University of Rochester, “allows “bad” bacteria to be tested for susceptibility to certain antibiotics.” You will most likely be expected to learn how to do this after a few years of work.
- Good communication skills: As phlebotomists have to deal with patients throughout the day, good communication skills are essential. You should explain procedures to the patients effectively, sometimes including that you will use a tourniquet, which can scare some people. You also have to listen to patients’ queries carefully and answer clearly, with expertise, and in a friendly manner. Phlebotomists should also be able to provide instructions about specific tests to patients whenever required. Besides verbal communication, phlebotomists should also have strong written communication to write clear and compelling reports and correspondence with superiors.
- Proficient team player: Working with a substantial medical staff involving doctors, nurses, lab technicians, etc. is part of the job. Hence, it is necessary to be a team player and be professional while dealing with others in your team.
- Compassionate demeanor: Being empathetic is a given for any role in the medical field, including phlebotomists. While drawing blood may become routine, not all patients are happy getting the procedure. In such situations, being empathetic, understanding the patients’ concerns, and putting them at ease go a long way in providing good care.
- Stamina: Phlebotomists, like many other people in health care, are constantly on their feet and walk all day. Therefore, you need to work for long periods on your feet while keeping up your high-performance levels.
Educational Requirements for Phlebotomists
DegreeThe U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics says there will be a 17% increase in phlebotomist jobs between 2019 and 2029. If you are interested in a career as a phlebotomist, you need to complete a high school diploma and on-the-job training.
LicensingLouisiana, Nevada, Washington, and California are the only four states in the U.S. that require phlebotomists to get licensed.
The state of Washington requires proper training and submission of personal tests, including liability claims history. The state also requires accreditation by a “regional or national accrediting organization recognized by the U.S. Department of Education” as well as a personal recommendation from a supervising health care practitioner with a current Washington state license. The state also requires “the ability to read, write, and converse in the English language,” paying a licensing fee and having a clean background check.
California phlebotomists need to pass a phlebotomy class and complete an externship to receive a certificate of completion from the school they attend. Then they need to pass the Phlebotomy Certification Examination and obtain a license certification. After all that, they must apply and be accepted by the state pending a background check. They must also renew their certification every two years.
In Louisiana, phlebotomists need a license and certification. In Nevada, which classifies phlebotomists as lab assistants, phlebotomists also need a lab assistant license (which requires its separate application) as well as a phlebotomy certification.
CertificationsAlthough high school diplomas are accepted in most states outside of the four licensing states, almost all employers prefer individuals who hold a professional certification in phlebotomy.
To ensure that a certification program is valuable, always check the school’s accreditation history with the state before you enroll in their course. The National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences (NAACLS) is a reliable source to gather information about phlebotomy certification courses. Some of the institutes that offer phlebotomy technician courses include the National Phlebotomy Association, American Medical Technologists, American Society of Clinical Pathology, and the National Center for Competency Testing. Individuals can also attain knowledge about anatomy, physiology, and medical terminologies, on top of receiving practical phlebotomy experience during these courses. Most also include modules on infection control, hygiene maintenance, and donor screening.
You can find the specific certification expectations of each state at the National Phlebotomy Certification Examination website, including local and county colleges that offer nearby education opportunities.
Phlebotomist Resume-Writing Tips
A well-written resume is the key to grab an interview opportunity. To ensure you hit the right notes, here are some tips that will help you tweak your resume favorably.
- Select the right format: Selecting the proper format is essential when it comes to resume writing. The design format you choose depends on whether you want to highlight your experience or your skills.
For example, if you have many years of experience as a phlebotomist, choose a reverse-chronological format. If you have minimal experience, a functional resume is ideal.
Formatting the resume is also important. An evenly spaced, clutter-free resume is likely to gain more attention. Sticking to a one-page format, using easy-to-read fonts, giving appropriate subheadings, and leaving one-inch margins on every side are factors that make for a great resume.
- Write an attractive resume objective or summary: The objective or summary is the first thing the recruiter sees on your resume. It should be a reflection of your achievements and ambitions as a phlebotomist. Hence, how you write it is as important as what you write. Rather than writing about your experiences, skills, and achievements in general, use powerful active words and include measurable achievements and numbers to make an impression.
“Detailed-oriented certified phlebotomist technician with 5+ years of experience. Performed 1500+ successful venipunctures and maintained 100% accurate documentation.”
With a summary like this, you are likely to have an impact on the recruiter.
- Create an impressive cover letter: Cover letters are usually not given much importance by applicants. However, it can be your first correspondence with the recruiter and the first thing they see before checking out your resume. Hence, it is crucial to give it as much attention as the resume.
First, your cover letter should not be more than three to four paragraphs.
Second, introduce yourself by mentioning your name and the post you want to apply for. An important tip is to include the keywords mentioned in the job description to highlight your skills as a phlebotomist.
This will help to attract the attention of the recruiter.
Where do phlebotomists work?
Phlebotomists work in different environments. These technicians are needed at hospitals, medical and diagnostic laboratories, doctors’ offices, ambulatory health care services, and outpatient care centers. Phlebotomists may also have to visit the homes of patients to draw blood for testing.
What is the duration of phlebotomy technician certification courses?
The duration of the phlebotomist certification program would depend on the course you have chosen. In the majority of cases, it does not go beyond a year. You would find certification courses that last anywhere between six to eight weeks and four to eight months.
Are phlebotomists and medical assistants the same?
Phlebotomists and medical assistants are usually not the same. While medical assistants provide both clinical and administrative support to hospitals or doctors, the primary responsibility of phlebotomists is to draw blood and to keep track of it.
What is a phlebotomist’s work schedule?
Phlebotomists working in health clinics usually work full time. Those who work in hospitals may have to work night shifts, weekends, and even holidays.