In hospitals, clinics, and medical labs around the country, one essential healthcare worker is in short supply. Phlebotomists, the professionals who draw blood, have been in demand for several years now with some blood centers reporting turnover rates as high as 20%. Phlebotomists were already in high demand with many in the field reaching retirement when the pandemic made matters even worse.
What Phlebotomists Do
A phlebotomist draws blood for lab tests, donations, and research purposes. They do so through venipuncture, finger pricks, and heel pricks. They help patients relax during the process and follow strict safety protocol to prevent infection or harm. After blood is collected, phlebotomists label the samples properly and enter the information into a database. Phlebotomists may also collect patient urine, stool, or even hair samples.
Phlebotomists play an essential role in healthcare because without their skills, some patients wouldn’t receive the transfusions that they need to survive. In fact, the Red Cross recently declared a national blood crisis for the first time ever, due in part to the COVID-19 pandemic and phlebotomist staffing shortages. As a result, doctors have had to prioritize which patients receive blood transfusions.
Demand for Phlebotomists Expected to Grow
Although phlebotomists were in demand before the pandemic, the stress of the global event caused many to leave healthcare or retire from the profession, creating a void. The aging U.S. population also contributes to demand. As people age, their need for medical testing, including blood work, increases.
With the shortage of phlebotomists, employment is expected to grow much faster than average over the next decade. Washington is among the top-paying states for phlebotomists.
How to Become a Phlebotomist
A short training program can teach you the skills you need to conduct proper blood draws. You learn how to extract blood through various techniques, properly label blood samples, and perform infection control. Once you complete your training, you can apply for certification in your state, which can qualify you for employment. For example, in the state of Washington, you would apply through the Department of Health.
The majority of phlebotomists work in hospitals, but you can find jobs in other settings. You could work in a clinic or outpatient care center, or you could find work at a diagnostic or medical laboratory. You could also work for a blood bank or a research institute.
Do you have an interest in healthcare and a desire to help fill the phlebotomist shortage? Contact Charter College today. We offer a Diploma in Phlebotomy program that can prepare you for entry-level work in the field. The program can be completed in as few as three months and can prepare you for licensure in Washington. Classes are enrolling now. Call 888-200-9942 or fill out the form to learn more.