Whether you work as a Nurse, Medical Assistant, or Phlebotomist, one of your recurring tasks will be the patient blood draw. It’s absolutely essential that you follow proper procedures to ensure the health and safety of your patients, your coworkers, and you. Here’s what you need to know:
Prepare your work area. Even before your patient arrives, you need to have the proper equipment and a clean and sterile environment. Make sure you have the appropriate venipuncture tools, along with the required tourniquets, vials, tubing, disinfectant, gloves, lab forms, and labels.
Introduce yourself to your patient and confirm his or her identity. Ask about allergies and whether or not they’ve ever had an issue with blood draws. Do your best to comfort and assure them.
Wash your hands and put on a clean pair of gloves. Examine your patient’s arm to try and find a suitable vein for the procedure. It should be straight and easy to find, even before you put the tourniquet on. However, you may need to have your patient make a fist and hold it, if the vein is not as easy to find.
Once you locate one that is usable, place the tourniquet 3-4 inches above where you plan to inject the needle. Wipe the injection site with alcohol and allow it to dry. After you have done this, do not touch the area until after you complete the blood draw.
With the tourniquet on, and your thumb below the injection site, insert the needle at a 15-30 degree angle, in one fluid motion.
Collect the blood in specified evacuated tubes. The equipment you use will be specific to your lab. Different colors will help you determine which sample is meant for which test.
Once you have all the blood necessary, remove the tourniquet from your patient’s arm, and then remove the needle. Apply pressure with a cotton ball or gauze, and then ask your patient to take over and do the same. Secure with sterile tape.
Dispose of all needles and collection devices in an appropriate biohazard bin. Ensure your samples are labeled with the patient’s first and last name, their date of birth and the date and time of the blood draw.
Wash your hands again and make sure the area is clean. Check in with your patient to make sure they are feeling okay, and if they are, send them on their way.
Prepare your samples for transport in a leak-proof bag that is labeled with the patient’s information. Make sure your work space is clean and begin the process again for your next patient.
Career Quest Learning Centers offers a phlebotomy technician program where you can learn how to perform these steps and more, in a hands-on environment. If you have an interest in phlebotomy or another healthcare career, fill out the form to request more info. We’ll be happy to speak with you.