The wonders of modern medicine are numerous and growing every day. New treatments, cutting edge medical technologies and an ever-growing understanding of the human body and how to heal it make it an extremely exciting time to be a part of the medical field. This rings true for the field of phlebotomy as much as any other field.
According to the ACLA (American Clinical Laboratory Association), there are 7 billion lab tests performed annually in the US alone. That equals almost 222 lab tests performed per second! These lab tests are critical for the early detection of diseases, regular check-ups, research and so much more. For patients to be able to get and use these crucial medical results, there must be a bridge between the laboratories and those patients. That is where phlebotomy plays a critical role. Phlebotomy is that bridge.
How Role Does Phlebotomy Play in Connecting the Lab and the Patient?
Medical testing is a precise and thorough process and for good reason. Those test results are important and need to be handled carefully. Phlebotomists do the important work of drawing and handling the blood of patients before it is sent to the lab to be analyzed. Why exactly are phlebotomists necessary?
- Ensuring Proper Documentation
Laboratories worldwide are flooded with samples from patients seeking laboratory testing for any number of reasons. The phlebotomists ensure that the patient’s information is correct and that they are a perfect match. Because of this, when compared to the number of tests that are done each year, the chances of unfortunate laboratory mix-ups or lost samples are low.
- Draw Blood Samples
Whether a patient is drawing blood for a toxicology screening or drawing a full pint of whole blood for a donation, the process of getting that blood from the patient to the lab requires a phlebotomist to walk a patient through having their blood drawn. This includes explaining the entire process, asking the required questions, sanitizing the area where they will be drawing blood and handling the blood afterwards. This is a set of skills that requires specialized training.
- Label Blood Samples
Not all blood samples are created equal and they need to be treated as such. Once the blood is drawn, the phlebotomists must label every sample to ensure three things. One: that it is connected to the patient that gave it. Two: that it arrives at the right laboratory and for the right procedures. Three: that it is stored adequately. The labelling of blood samples is what makes the entire process work so smoothly. This responsibility falls onto the shoulders of every phlebotomist.
- Provide Help to the Patient
Some patients are nervous about getting their blood drawn. Others have a fear of needles. Occasionally, some even have negative reactions. These are not the norm but they do happen. The phlebotomists have the clinical work of drawing and labeling the samples but they must also take care of their patients. If they have any adverse reactions or are uncomfortable because of the process itself, they must help the patients work through their discomfort to get to a place where the samples can be taken.
Building a Bridge for Patients
Modern-day laboratories do amazing work. For them to be able to do that work, the phlebotomists must first do their job correctly and efficiently. Phlebotomy acts as the bridge between the patient and the laboratory and that allows for the collection, testing and processing of billions of samples every year.