Phlebotomist Job Description: Top Duties and Qualifications

Last updated: August 22, 2022

A Phlebotomist, or Certified Phlebotomist, is responsible for using their medical knowledge to take blood samples from patients. Their duties include preparing the testing room with the proper tools, walking patients through the process when inserting needles and retrieving samples and labeling samples for further analysis in medical laboratories.

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Phlebotomist duties and responsibilities

Phlebotomists are responsible for efficiently and accurately performing blood draws and transfusions on blood donors and patients, depending on their specific facility. Some of their typical daily duties include the following:

  • Preparing patients before drawing blood
  • Explaining blood draw procedures to patients and answering any questions about the process
  • Following all health and safety protocols and procedures to maintain sanitary work areas
  • Gathering medical testing materials, including needles, sample vials, blood storage bags and test tubes
  • Verifying patient information and labeling blood samples properly
  • Accurately updating patient information in the organization’s database
  • Helping nervous or frightened patients remain calm during blood draws
  • Working with supervising Physicians and following their directions at all times
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What does a Phlebotomist do?

Phlebotomists typically work for a variety of healthcare facilities, including hospitals, physician’s offices or clinical laboratories to help Physicians gather blood or urine samples from patients. They work closely with other Phlebotomists, Nurses and Physicians to interact with patients and retrieve samples for further analysis. Their job is to interact with patients and oversee blood draw procedures. They may also be responsible for assisting Laboratory Technicians in organizing and testing lab samples.

Phlebotomist skills and qualifications

Phlebotomists need a certain set of skills and qualifications in order to handle their job duties effectively, including:

  • Professional certification in phlebotomy from a recognized program
  • Ability to successfully draw blood from patients with minimal or no complications
  • Empathy and interpersonal skills for working with patients
  • Detail-oriented and committed to ensuring patient confidentiality
  • Excellent motor skills and the ability to stand for long periods of time
  • Advanced written and verbal communication skills
  • Data entry and computer skills
  • Strong attention to detail

Phlebotomist salary expectations

The average salary for Phlebotomists in the United States is $12.39 per hour. The actual salary for a qualified candidate may vary depending on their years of experience, certifications and education.

Phlebotomist education and training requirements

In order to find work as a Phlebotomist, candidates must have their high school diploma and complete a postsecondary accredited phlebotomy program from a community college or vocational-technical school. Many employers also look for applicants who have a professional certification in phlebotomy from a recognized program such as the National Center for Competency Testing (NCCT) or the National Phlebotomy Association. Candidates should have an excellent grasp of medical terminology, human anatomy and testing procedures.

Phlebotomist experience requirements

Phlebotomists can be hired after completing a phlebotomy program and receiving a professional certification. Many organizations prefer to hire a Phlebotomist who has previous work experience in a clinical setting, such as a medical testing laboratory, hospital or medical office. Phlebotomists should also have experience verifying and entering data using database software.

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Frequently asked questions about Phlebotomists

 

What is the difference between a Phlebotomist and a Registered Nurse?

Both Phlebotomists and Registered Nurses can oversee the gathering of blood samples from patients, but they differ in their level of seniority and scope of job responsibilities. For example, Phlebotomists need to earn a high school diploma followed by an associate’s degree in phlebotomy or a phlebotomy certification program to qualify for a position. In contrast, Registered Nurses need to earn either an associate’s degree or bachelor’s degree in nursing, followed by completing the national licensing examination for RNs. 

Because of their differences in education, Phlebotomists focus solely on taking blood samples from patients. In contrast, Registered Nurses have additional responsibilities, including monitoring vitals, changing bandages, inserting IVs and providing patients with health advice.

 

What are the daily duties of a Phlebotomist?

On a typical day, a Phlebotomist starts by reviewing their appointment schedule. They prepare the examination room before each appointment to ensure they have sterile tools to complete the procedure. During each appointment, they greet the patient and have them sit down. They then talk to them about the process and incorporated small talk to help calm nervous patients. After each procedure, Phlebotomists package samples and label them accordingly. They take them to the laboratory and may help lab technicians in organizing and testing blood samples.

 

What qualities make a good Phlebotomist?

A good Phlebotomist is someone who has compassion for others and a personable nature. These qualities, in combination with one another, allow Phlebotomists to calm nervous patients before and during blood draw procedures. They value continued education and actively pursue additional certifications or educational opportunities to enhance their medical knowledge. 

Further, a good Phlebotomist knows how important it is to maintain a sterile work environment for the health and safety of their patients. A good Phlebotomist also has excellent interpersonal communication, which helps them effectively speak with patients, Physicians, Nurses and administrative staff.

 

Who does a Phlebotomist report to?

Phlebotomists report to different roles depending on their place of employment. Phlebotomists working at hospitals or healthcare facilities typically report to Physicians to assist them with taking blood samples from patients. Phlebotomists working at clinical laboratories may report directly to a Medical Laboratory Scientist to assist them with collecting, labeling and storing samples.

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