Phlebotomy Courses

Blood has long been known to play an important part in the health of human beings. The ancients believed an excess of blood to be detrimental to health. The doctors of antiquity devised systems of bloodletting that seem shocking from a modern perspective. They attached leeches to their patients, or opened a vein with tools resembling devices of torture and let blood flow into a basin to be examined. These beliefs spread across the ancient world, from Mesopotamia through Egypt to Greece. The modern understanding of blood and the cardiovascular system is still evolving, but phlebotomy is now a respected science. Blood is drawn by medical professionals in sterile conditions and analyzed by trained technicians and physicians. Phlebotomy courses give technicians, nurses, and physicians the training they need to safely draw blood and knowledgeably analyze it.

Certification of phlebotomy technicians is a prerequisite for employment in the field in most states. There are several associations that certify phlebotomists have the education, training, and experience required to ensure that those taking blood have received proper training on drawing blood and preventing infection. Certification testing helps guarantee that professional knowledge is standardized and consistent from practitioner to practitioner. Phlebotomy courses can be provided as part of a phlebotomy degree program, such as an associate’s degree for phlebotomy technicians, or can be a part of a different degree program. Many nursing programs, for instance, have a set of courses in phlebotomy so that nurses will be able to draw blood for diagnosis, transfusions, or even donations.

A degree program in phlebotomy typically includes a wide range of related courses, such as first aid and CPR, to prepare them for what they might face in the job. Phlebotomy technicians might come across situations that require emergency care, such as if a patients react poorly to having blood drawn, losing consciousness or even worse. Medical professionals who draw blood must be prepared to deal with such eventualities. A degree or certificate program will include coursework in hospital procedures regarding hygiene and working standards and may also include coursework in anatomy, physiology, and biology.

Phlebotomy certificate and degree programs will cover some standard knowledge and techniques needed by anyone entrusted with drawing blood in a medical setting. Programs might start with an overview of the history of phlebotomy and move through discussions of modern equipment and terminology of phlebotomy. Then, students will learn techniques for locating a vein and inserting a needle. Problem situations will be discussed, with alternative techniques a highlight of the lectures. What happens if a needle falls out during a procedure? What if there is too little blood coming out? What if there is too much blood coming out? Future phlebotomists will need this vital information at their disposal when they start to draw blood themselves. Safety procedures, like how to prevent needle sticks to medical staff, should be a constant companion to any techniques covered.

Another important aspect of phlebotomy courses is what to do when the blood is drawn and the needle is removed from the patient. This includes how to stop a needle puncture from bleeding and how to bandage a patient. Classes cover creating blood smears for microscopes and other ways of creating blood samples. Phlebotomy courses should cover the transportation and storage of blood specimens. Many cover the collection of other bodily fluids for testing and analysis as phlebotomists and technicians may be asked to perform such tasks. At the end of a rigorous set of phlebotomy courses, a professional should feel comfortable and competent in all the skills associated with drawing, storing, and handling blood samples.

Last Updated: 05/22/2014