In honor of Lab Week, I am highlighting 13 random facts about Phlebotomy (fla-bo-toe-me:Jenny's phonetic spelling) since that it is the closest connection that most of you will have to the lab. The 13 facts should help to make your next lab test a better experience.
- Phlebotomist - the official title of the person who draws blood for the lab. They would take being called a "phleb" versus blood girl/boy or lab girl/boy. Please don't call them vampires, they hear that all the time. It's not funny, but they won't tell you that.
- When you are a patient in the hospital, your blood may be collected by a Medical Technologist ( someone like me!). We are the people performing the tests in the lab, but for morning draws, we all go out and draw blood to get all the routine work done in a timely manner.
- When you are having your blood collected, we can tell you what tests were ordered, but we can't tell you why the tests were ordered. Your Doctor bases their orders on your history and condition, we don't know that information and the doctor is the person that you want to ask the why question.
- If the person drawing you misses your vein, let them try one more time, however, if you are uncomfortable at anytime during the procedure, speak up! Ask for another phlebotomist, you are the customer!
- Please don't tell the phlebotomist how hard you are to draw, it's better to say, "Sometimes people have difficulty drawing my blood and here (point to the spot) is where they got my blood last time." Everybody is different and just by being left-handed, I would be able to get people that others couldn't ( and I was never considered one of the best!)
- When you see the size of the needle (if you are the type to watch) we don't stick the whole needle in. The 1 - 1.5 inch needles give us a better angles to draw the blood. Please don't ask for the butterfly needle if you think it will hurt less because it's a smaller needle. The butterfly costs a lot more and increases the time of collection. The butterfly needle should be used for difficult draws and hand draws.
- Fasting? How long? When your doctor orders a fasting test, usually glucose or a lipid profile ( cholesterol, HDL, LDL) the test needs to be fasting to be able to have an accurate result to compare to reference ranges. Fasting is usually 12-14 hours without food or drink, however water is usually okay. Anytime you have questions, always ask your provider.
- If you do have fasting bloodwork, just understand that when you come in for your blood to be drawn that early in the morning, everyone else is there for the same reason. It is the busiest time for blood work. If your blood tests don't have to be fasting, then wait until after 10 am for the morning rush to be over.
- Different lab tests require different tubes to be drawn. You may have three chemistry tests ordered and only one tube is drawn. But there will be times that you may have three tests ordered and we will have to draw three different tubes. For some of the reference lab work, we may even have to draw more than one tube for a test.
- Most tests that are drawn will have results available within 8 hours, the lab is unable to give you the results directly unless we have a signed form from you, please don't call for results. However other tests take a few days if they are sent out or only run during scheduled times during the week if it's a low volume test ( we don't get a lot of requests, so the lab runs the test less to keep the cost low)
- We are drawing your blood, because your provider has determined that they need the results to base their diagnosis and/or care on the results of the lab test.
- To prevent labeling errors, JCAHO ( Joint Commission Accreditation Of Hospital Organization) has recommended that specimens be labeled with two identifiers, your name and your date of birth. So even though we have your lab order in front of us with all information, we still have to ask for your name and date of birth and your specimens should be labeled in your presence.
- Phlebotomists who draw blood everyday truly enjoy their jobs and the patient contact. I hope this list helps you to appreciate their skills and makes your next blood test easier to have done.The purpose of the meme is to get to know everyone who participates a little bit better every Thursday. Visiting fellow Thirteeners is encouraged! If you participate, leave the link to your Thirteen in others comments. It’s easy, and fun! Be sure to update your Thirteen with links that are left for you, as well! I will link to everyone who participates and leaves a link to their 13 things. Trackbacks, pings, comment links accepted!
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