Interest in the benefits of various medical careers has surged in recent years. The health care field is attracting a lot of new faces for a couple of reasons. The field as a whole is growing and several new career branches have appeared as the work requires more and more specialization. If you are interested in working in health care, you should weigh the advantages and disadvantages of a phlebotomy career. This profession has drawn many people from all ranks of society to its critical work supporting a number of medical endeavors.
What Is Phlebotomy?
Simply put, a phlebotomist draws blood from patients. Like a lot of tasks that people often associate with doctors and nurses, this job has become a specialization of a new profession that has taken one of the many roles once filled by other medical personnel. If you have given blood or had a blood test done recently, you probably met a phlebotomist during this episode. Occasionally, nurses and even doctors will draw blood but they are usually busy with other tasks which require performance by professionals with their particular licenses.
A phlebotomist uses a variety of tools and techniques to draw blood from patients. Extracting larger quantities of blood usually involves venipuncture. This requires the phlebotomist to puncture a blood vessel on the inside of one arm. Very small quantities can be drawn by devices known as finger sticks. Specially trained phlebotomists can take blood from infants using a special heel stick, which safely penetrates a blood vessel in a baby’s foot and does not risk the loss of large quantities of blood in a child so young or cause significant trauma. Other phlebotomists learn how to remove blood from a wrist artery in order to test gas levels in arterial blood.
The Advantages of a Phlebotomy Career
There are numerous advantages and benefits to choosing a phlebotomy career. That is why so many people are flocking to this field. Once you acquire a job in phlebotomy, you have advantages in job security, good salary, and opportunity to advance into greater specialization. You will also have exposure to a lot of technology that will keep your skills relevant for the foreseeable future.
High Demand – There is great demand for phlebotomists for several reasons. The expansion of health care needs overall is just one factor driving this demand. As doctors and nurses find themselves overwhelmed with matters above and beyond tasks such as blood collection, more and more opportunities open for people willing to specialize in this function. Also, researchers learn how to discover more diseases and toxins in people’s blood every day. The usefulness of blood screenings continues to increase. There is little doubt that trained and certified phlebotomists can acquire jobs in most regions.
Phlebotomist Salary (United States)
The salary of a phlebotomist is also advantageous – The average wage for a phlebotomist is $13.63 per hour according to PayScale.com. The median annual salary is $29,730 (2012), but this comes after a relatively short training period and can include dental, vision and medical benefits. Furthermore, you can earn considerably more with experience and additional training. Some phlebotomists can earn almost twice as much as beginners.
Technical Skills – Phlebotomists work with a lot of hi-tech equipment. If you can learn how to use these devices properly, you acquire skills that will be useful in many applications.
The Disadvantages of a Phlebotomy Career
Can be challenging – It is not easy being a phlebotomist and the work is not for everyone. If the sight of blood makes you uneasy, you will not enjoy your work. Phlebotomists also work with ill people most of the time, since people who are well make up a small fraction of the people having blood drawn. If you are not comfortable with these aspects of the job, then the advantages of a phlebotomy career may not be sufficiently convincing.
In conclusion, phlebotomy offers a good career choice for those who want to start earning money and prefer a shorter educational commitment compared to other medical careers. It is a practical and fast paced career with great advancement opportunities in healthcare. For those looking for a sense of fulfilment and reward, becoming a phlebotomist may provide a good start.
Donna Yates is the owner of PhlebotomyTrainingBook.com, a site which provides career information and advice for students who want to become a phlebotomist.