Top 14 Responsibilities Of A Medical Phlebotomist

A phlebotomist’s main job is to prepare specimens for testing in a medical laboratory. These specialists take blood samples from patients for testing and screening as part of the diagnosis process. The clinical assistants (as phlebotomists are sometimes called) work under the instruction of a doctor, nurse or chief medical lab technologist.

Since the collection of blood samples is a delicate process, a phlebotomist is expected to exercise high standards of professionalism, confidence and courtesy when doing their job. What are the other responsibilities of a medical phlebotomist?

Primary Responsibilities

  • Key among the responsibilities of a medical phlebotomist is collecting blood specimens through venipunctures ( i.e. inserting a hypodermic needle into the vein and drawing off the blood) or fingersticks and dressing the punctured area
  • Delivering the sample to the right laboratory within stipulate timescales
  • Verifying the patient identification and test requisitions to eliminate discrepancies 
  • Ensuring that the  collected specimen is kept under aseptic technique and any other technique(s) recommended by the department 
  • Getting therapeutic drug-monitoring assays through collaboration with other hospital personnel (especially the nurse) to avail the right drug dose whenever needed
  • Keeping clear records of all collected specimens through dating and labeling them  as well as entering data into the computer system 
  • Monitoring patient’s glucose levels by carrying out bedside glucose tests and forwarding the results to the nurse-manager
  • Performing bleeding-time tests  and notifying the pathologist accordingly 
  • Ensuring quality service delivery by following department procedures  guidelines and suggesting needed changes 
  • Explaining the phlebotomy procedure to patients whenever necessary (e.g. when if the patient is nervous or distressed) is also among the responsibilities of a medical phlebotomist 
  • Working towards a safe, secure and healthy work environment for all the staff in the hospital by adhering to the existing government safety regulations  
  • Resolving questionable test orders by contacting the physician or the health facility that ordered the test (s) 
  • Attending to trainings and participating in educational opportunities to update knowledge and offer better services 
  • Contributing to the overall growth of the phlebotomy department  and the hospital by assisting other (new) staff where necessary  

Academic Requirements

  • To perform the responsibilities of a medical phlebotomist, one needs a certificate in phlebotomy or related fields 
  • Associate degree in fields like laboratory science may be required in some instances
  • A Bachelor’s degree in  lab technology is highly preferred and may lead to promotion 

Experience

  • Must be conversant with physiology, handling of equipment, the various techniques and procedures 

Skills and Abilities

  • Must have strong analytical skills to understand requests
  • Knows how to the handle common hospital-based infections
  • Knows how to carryout bedside care and have steady hands
  • Must be keen and thorough and one who understands the lab environment 
  • Should be well conversant with the procedural skills expected in an hospital environment 
  • Focus on quality, safety and teamwork is key if  one is keen on fully executing the responsibilities of a medical phlebotomist  
  • Understands basic diagnostic procedures
  • Possess good  communication skills (both written and spoken)
  • Must have empathy and have the ability to calm nervous and distressed patients 
  • Must be able to work calmly under pressure and meet strict timelines 
  • Be respectful and capable of keeping confidential and sensitive information

Like any other medical job, on skilled people can perform phlebotomy. Employers are therefore advised to pick candidates based on the familiarity with the responsibilities of a medical phlebotomist. There should have the basic education requirements though.

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