Wednesday, April 25, 2007

#11, 13 Facts about Blood Drawing


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.

  1. 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.

  2. 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.

  3. 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.

  4. 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!

  5. 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!)

  6. 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.

  7. 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.

  8. 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.

  9. 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.

  10. 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)

  11. 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.


  12. 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.

  13. 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!




43 comments:

  1. Wow! Lots of things I didn't know. I would never call you a vampire...but I wouldn't watch you draw blood either. The one time I peeked, I fainted completely. Good post!

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  2. Impressive. I cannot stand having blood drawn from me. I am afraid of needles!

    Thanks for stopping by!

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  3. What an interesting post! Thanks for sharing this with us!

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  4. This is a great post for helping people learn more about their health - great job!

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  5. wow! very informative list! and thanks for sharing this...i have had some troubles before, they never get enough blood on me and keeps poking me many times,lol!

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  6. wow! very knowledgeable! great post! Thanks for posting and have a great Thursday ahead!

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  7. Great post, and highly informative! I don't mind being poked; fortunately I'm a really easy person to get blood from. My poor hubby, though, is another story! He doesn't mind being poked either but he has really deep veins.

    Happy TT and thanks for visiting my blog!

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  8. Thank you so much for writing that! I get my blood drawn too much (in my humble opinion) -- every couple of months. (Thyroid issues.) You just answered all my questions.

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  9. I admire your work! I am always impressed with the ease with which phlebotomists do their jobs...I mean really...you are sticking a needle into another person's vein!!!

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  10. Whoa, I'm pretty easy when it comes to having my blood drawn -- I give them my arm, they do their thing, I go home, but this was an interesting list. I still have nightmares about one phlebotomist, tho... :::shudder:::

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  11. Wow - lots of good info here. I'll be thinking of you next time I go for a blood test.

    I'm all about cows on parade on my 10th TT. Do stop by . . .

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  12. I'm one of those folks that can't watch the needle go in. I worked as a CNA for a while and in a hospital. I'll always mention if I'm dehydrated. When I am they need to hit the main right vein. If they go for my left they'll bust it and I'll bruise - happens every time. I recently had one of my girls in the hospital and the young lady that drew her blood did a fantastic job. I could have kissed her she did it so well.

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  13. Great info! Just hope I don't need any blood work anytime soon. : )

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  14. Very interesting post. I used to think i was the only person to say "I feel faint, so if you don't mind, I'm not going to look, yada yada yada,..."
    When I was pregnant, I had to have a blood drawn every hour for 4 hours (you'd know why!) so they put me behind a curtain to lie down and I got to hear EVERY other person who stepped into the lab say, "I really don't like needles...", "I can't watch because I'll pass out...", "I hate this part..."!!! How do y'all keep your morale up?
    I now take blood extractions stoically!

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  15. That's the same in Belgium, only sometimes there are very young doctors who just finished their studies who draw your blood. I don't care about the needles and sometimes wonder about all the tubes he or she has to fill in with my blood, but there is still some left apparently ! I do once a year a full check up.

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  16. Interesting list. I'm one of the weirdos who watches the whole thing. LOL!

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  17. My mom used to use me as a test subject, to make sure she was good at drawing blood... I don't like it :(

    Great list though! I didn't know a lot of that...

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  18. Yikes! Yikes! Yikes!

    I read it, but with my eyes closed, sort of, and my teeth gritted. I seem to have to have blood drawn every other day---and I do appreciate having this information, but it's going to take me time to get used to it. I'll have to come back again.

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  19. it still gives me the creeps everytime i have some blood drawn out! scary!! :) great list, btw!

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  20. Very interesting list. Especially since I'm hoping to go work for one of the main companies that develops software used to track plasma donations ;)

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  21. Interesting stuff! I've had my blood drawn a zillion times and I have no problem with it. In fact I would give blood freely if I was allowed to.

    Thanks for visiting my TT!

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  22. Thank you for the explanation. Your list reminded me of the many times I gave blood during my pregnancies. Haven't had to since. It was never a problem for me but getting any of my boys near a needle is a nightmare.

    Happy TT Day!

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  23. Funny, when i worked in the hospital, I called 'em "mosquitoes" or "leeches".

    I also run pretty fast ;)

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  24. Interesting list. Thanks for sharing.. I played along for the 1st time today.

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  25. I don't mind having my blood drawn, but the last few times I donated blood, it took forever and they gave my a tension ball to squeeze onto. I'm unsure why this is happening. Do you have any tips that would make donating blood a better experience? I wonder if I made sure to be really hydrated if it would help. I haven't had any blood tests in quite some time but they don't seem to be a problem because of the shortness of them.

    I never even knew about a butterfly needle. But, I'm actually one of those non-complaining folks. I find it barely hurts, even when they change tubes - tell those Phlebs that they rock!!!

    Have a great day and thanks for the informative TT!

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  26. Ewww, I hate my blood being taken and needles in general.

    Interesting list, lots of stuff I didn't know, but now I have the heebie jeebies!!!

    Happy TT! Thanks for dropping by mine.

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  27. I always do #5. I hate it when they poke and probe:(

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  28. Though I don't have to get my blood drawn often, I don't mind the procedure at all. Even though my veins are small and can give some people trouble, it doesn't bother me to watch being poked and prodded until they hit it.

    Thanks for such a great list! Happy TT!

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  29. I haven't had to have any blood drawn in a long time, but this is a very interesting and informative list. Thanks for sharing.
    Happy TT and thanks for visiting my list! :-)

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  30. They almost always have trouble getting blood from my husband. Thanks for the information.

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  31. Good info to know. I love my phlebotomist. She rocks. The one I had before her, well, she didn't. Sounds like people must give you are hard time on occasion.

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  32. That is the best T13 I've read this week!

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  33. Definitely informative :) It always takes like 20 minutes for me to give blood...it comes out slowly drop by drop by drop!

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  34. I never knew all this information about blood drawing, and I have to get blood drawn all the time (anemia). I'm one of the difficult sticks that has to have the butterfly needle in the hand :)

    Thanks for stopping by my T13!

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  35. I'm one of those pesky people who usually take two or three tries to get a gusher. I have a high pain tolerance though, so I always tell them to keep trying until they get one.

    I can imagine that being a tough job at times though.

    Thanks for all of the insight into that job.

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  36. Very interesting!

    I am one of those that people sometimes have difficulty drawing blood from and what you suggested is what I say. I must be a good patient...lol!

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  37. Patrick4:05 AM

    If im not lying down and looking away, I will faint when they draw blood from me.
    I think I've fainted like 15 times.
    I just feel lightheaded and then boom I wake up on the floor :P

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  38. I am having terrible problems providing a sample for INR, as I am on Warfarin therapy.The phlebotomists have tried conventional syringes and the 'butterfly' but it is normal to have anything up to 12 punctures in the arm and hand and loads more prodding in addition to this. Sometimes they give up and send a colleague the next day, Sometimes even she gives up and does the same! I am anxious to self-test or self-manage the INR using a CoaguChek meter but neither the GP nor the Warfarin Clinic want to know. My arms and hands are black-and-blue like a patchwork quilt. Is anyone else out there having this experience?

    Peter

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  39. Peter, not sure if you will read this, but no, it's not normal to be stuck 12 times for blood. You need to tell the doctor and demand a fingerstick or an expert phlebotomist. With that many sticks, you run the risk of nerve damage. Are you drinking water and are well hydrated for the blood draws?

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  40. Anonymous9:38 PM

    Thanks for posting this. I, too, am not very easy to draw blood from, and I've always wondered if it were the phlebotomists, but it isn't cos there have been a couple, and they all the same issue with drawing blood from me. What is wrong with me? I swear I drink a bucket of water before I go and during my wait in the lobby. This issue has made me hate needles so much.

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  41. This is a very interesting post. I enjoyed reading it. Good job.

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  42. The blood drawing people are always happy when I come in for Labs. I was blessed with thick veins...easy target. My girlfriend has such small veins, drawing blood from her is a nightmare.

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  43. hi i have blood tests regular in the blood room,they are great.i tell them i have thin deep viens,so they use a baby needle and great no problem.After being in a&e before xmas with an infection,i was upset and in a panic,which started to bring a attack on when it was 5 times and they still couldnt take my blood.As i had to go back to a&e in a few days,they said they would get someone who was good at taking blood,so she put a line in,inside my elbow and one in my hand,i screamed the place down,my whole arm was a mess,the pain was terrible.The reaction from the doctors was i am why was i reacting like that.Dont fancy going again.Jan

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Any thoughts or musings of your own to add?