Health careers with a difference: phlebotomists

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Phlebotomist holding blood sample

Are you interested in a career helping people to feel well, but you’re not totally sure that training as a doctor or nurse is quite the right path for you?

When it comes to healthcare, doctors and nurses are the people we usually hear the most about – they tend to get the spotlight! But there are actually lots of very different healthcare roles open to you. These are the people who people who help keep our hospitals running smoothly and make sure patients are getting the best care possible.

There’s an exciting range of careers in healthcare and medicine you could consider. In this post we’re looking at phlebotomists: what do they do, what skills they need to have, and how to become a phlebotomist

What does a phlebotomist do? 

The name might sound a bit strange, but what a phlebotomist does is actually pretty straightforward. Phlebotomists take blood samples from patients to help diagnose illness.

They use a hypodermic needle and draw blood into a tube, and then apply a bandage to the patient. Phlebotomists then carefully label and store samples, and deliver them to the lab, and record any relevant data. 

As part of their job, phlebotomists clearly explain the procedure to patients. They take care to reassure patients and put them at ease, as many can be nervous about having their blood drawn. 

Phlebotomist drawing blood
Phlebotomists have good communication skills to make their
patients feel comfortable

Phlebotomists usually work in hospitals, clinics and health centre. Sometimes they visit patients at home or in residential care homes. They usually work in a team alongside nurses, healthcare researchers working in blood science, and doctors.

What skills do I need?

To become a phlebotomist, you’ll need the following skills and characteristics:

  • A kind and caring manner
  • Enjoy having a hands-on role
  • Able to follow instructions and processes
  • Good communication skills to explain procedures
  • Empathetic and able to put patients at ease
  • Strong listening skills
  • Able to work well in a team as well as on your own
  • Able to take initiative
  • Good organisational skills
  • Able to work calmly under pressure

How can I become a phlebotomist?

There are no specific entry requirements to become a phlebotomist, but you’ll usually need:

  • Two or more GCSEs in subjects like English, maths and science
  • work experience in a caring role

One route is to do an apprenticeship in healthcare, which would give you plenty of useful experience and skills to apply for a trainee phlebotomist position. Another option is to apply for a role as a healthcare assistant, and then work your way up to phlebotomy with further training. 

What do phlebotomists earn? 

Phlebotomists at the beginning of their careers earn around £16,000. This could rise to £22,500 for a very experienced phlebotomist.

Do you like the sound of phlebotomy? Read our 60 Second Interview with phlebotomist Brenda to find out what it’s really like. 

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Free Stock 

 Commons Wikimedia

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