PHLEBOTOMY: I'M OFFICIALLY A VAMPIRE

12:00 AM

Happy Friday guys!

Yesterday, I completed my last day of clinicals for my Phlebotomy program, and I actually took (aced!) my final for it on Wednesday, so I'm officially done, so I thought 'd share my experience learning and performing venipuncture with you guys!

I really enjoyed the experience and personally love drawing blood and can't wait to enter the workforce and get some really good clinical experience under my belt. If you can handle blood, which if you're looking to enter the medical field, you will definitely have to learn to, I think Phlebotomy is a great way to gain some clinical experience, earn some extra money, and really get a feel for what it is like to work in the hospital or doctor's office.

The Course:
 I took my course through the college associated with a major hospital in my hometown. The college offered a 10 week course that would consist of 5 weeks in the classroom and 5 weeks of clinicals actually sticking and drawing blood on patients.

The Classroom:

For 5 weeks, I learned in the classroom about the technical procedure of venipuncture, basic anatomy, medical terminology and health and hazard safety. For me, the information that we learned in class was basic review for me and I barely struggled because I had already been exposed the to most of the information we were learning from my previous educational background of being a pre-med student for 5 years. What I did have difficulty with was the technical and hands-on part of learning how to draw blood. In class before we would be exposed to actual human flesh and blood, we practiced learning to stick on dummy arms... and I can say I struggled at times,



The arms we had in class were definitely a little worn and had a few track marks, so they didn't necessarily imitate the true experience of drawing blood, but the repetitiveness helped us becoming comfortable using a needle and learning the proper steps in the procedure.

Once we were all comfortable with sticking the dummy arms, we practiced on each other... yes, we had to be each others Guinea pigs and there was some fainting and blood spattered and spilled but we all survived. My first time ever, I was so nervous that when I found the vein and inserted the needle, I freaked out and immediately removed it and blood ran down my classmates arm! (But I was happy that I had successfully found a vein...)

Although I was nervous, it was great that we had the chance to practice on real people and get all our nerves out before going into clinicals with real patients that might not be so understanding about us making mistakes.

Clinicals:

The night before clinicals, I was anxious because I had no idea what to expect or how patients would react to my being a student... I was essentially worried that although I knew the anatomy, the order of drawing the tubes, and the medical terminology, that I would be no good and actually performing. My worst fear was hurting the patients. This fear truly resonated with me in that I felt in I couldn't perform venipuncture well, then maybe I wasn't cut out to go to medical school and perform more complicated procedures like surgery one day...

When I arrived at my first clinical rotation, my preceptor was great. She always wanted to make sure I knew I could ask questions and to make sure I felt comfortable, she even volunteered to let me stick her first thing in the morning before any patients arrived. Having a great preceptor, I believe is key to success in hands-on learning experiences like these. She really helped established my confidence and gave me use constructive criticism without making me feel incompetent. The comfort and confidence I learned in my first week stayed with me throughout my clinicals.

On the other hand, having a not so great preceptor can really shake your confidence and your ability to perform and just really make the experience difficult. In my third week of clinicals, I had a preceptor that although was knowledgeable and overall a nice guy, his teaching style was too aggressive for my personality. He would undermine and critique me in front of patients and essentially coerced me into using his method vs. what I had been taught in class. It was a difficult experience for me, and but it was important for me to not let him take the enjoyment and soil the experience of treating patients for me.

In healthcare, it's always important to not let upset patients or staff, make you forget why you are there... because you truly love helping and taking care of people! It was hard and sometimes emotionally and physically draining, but after each patient, I was always excited to see the next!

Overall, I love venipuncture and I'm glad it was a skill I learned now (apparently doctors and nurses aren't the best phlebotomist because they don't take specific course designed to teach it), and I believe if you can make a patient like you while sticking them with a needle and drawing tubes of bloods... you're golden! If anyone is looking to gain hands- on clincal experience or entry into healthcare that doesn't take , phlebotomy is a great field, and nowadays they even participate in more laboratory work if you're interested in what happens to the blood after it's drawn!

According to my pre-med advisor, when students ask what counts as clinical experience... he says anything allows you to get close enough to smell the patient... I definitely think getting bled on will count lol!

Hope this was helpful and feel free to leave any questions in the comments below!






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