The Truth About Phlebotomy

In healthcare, certain procedures and professions often fall victim to myths and stereotypes that can spread misunderstandings. Phlebotomy is no stranger to that phenomenon. Despite being a critical aspect of healthcare, phlebotomy is sometimes surrounded by misconceptions that deserve clarification and debunking. From the perception of pain to the scope of phlebotomists’ expertise, dispelling these common stereotypes can bring a comprehensive understanding of the truth behind blood collection procedures and the role of phlebotomists in patient care.

Myth One: Getting Your Blood Drawn is Painful

While the initial prick of the needle may have a pinch, actual blood collection should not be painful while in the care of a trained phlebotomist. Factors such as individual pain tolerance, anxiety levels, and previous experiences with blood draws can influence how a person perceives the sensation during phlebotomy. While some individuals may feel mild discomfort or a brief pinch from the needle, others may hardly notice the procedure at all. The actual blood collection is painless.

Phlebotomists undergo specialized training to master venipuncture techniques and prioritize patient comfort during blood collection. They are skilled in selecting appropriate veins, using gentle and precise movements, and communicating effectively with patients to alleviate anxiety and minimize discomfort. And in today’s modern healthcare setting, all care is patient centered. This is so every patient can have a positive experience for each procedure.

According to the National Library of Medicine, there are several things, though not an exhaustive list, that phlebotomists should do in a procedure to ensure the comfort of the patient:

  • The provider should introduce themselves to the patient and give a brief description of their role in the patient’s care.
  • Identify the purpose of the procedure.
  • Gain informed consent to the procedure without patient resistance.
  • Answer any questions the patient may have about the procedure.
  • Ask the patient about convenient collection sites to be prioritized.
  • Those patients who have had a history of panic attacks or fear of blood testing should have specific attention paid to them so that both provider and patient can be prepared should anything go wrong.

Myth Two: Phlebotomists Are Not Healthcare Professionals

Contrary to this myth, phlebotomists are highly trained healthcare professionals who undergo specialized education and certification in blood collection techniques. Whether they are nurses, medical assistants, or phlebotomists, they each have all had the training required for blood collection in every healthcare setting. Phlebotomists undergo specialized education and training programs to acquire the knowledge and skills necessary for blood collection procedures. These programs cover topics such as:

  • Anatomy and physiology of the circulatory system.
  • Venipuncture techniques and best practices.
  • Infection control measures and safety protocols.
  • Handling and processing blood specimens.
  • Communication and patient interaction skills.

Not only that, but like every other healthcare professional, those working in phlebotomy must obtain certification or education in order to perform blood collection. At American National University, our phlebotomy students prepare to sit for the Certified Phlebotomy Technician (CPT) exam as part of their curriculum. Upon completing their education and training, many phlebotomists often obtain certification from accredited organizations, such as the National Healthcareer Association (NHA), American Society for Clinical Pathology (ASCP), or the National Phlebotomy Association (NPA).

Myth Three: Phlebotomists Only Work in Hospitals

For many, we only think of phlebotomists working in a hospital. However, the reality is that phlebotomists are in demand across a wide range of healthcare settings, each with its unique requirements and challenges. And the need for phlebotomists is only going to grow as our healthcare system grows as well.

  1. Clinics or Outpatient facilities – Clinics like an urgent care, an oncology clinic, primary care facilities, and among many others employ phlebotomists to collect blood specimens from patients. Phlebotomists in these settings work closely with healthcare providers to facilitate diagnostic testing, monitor treatment progress, and ensure accurate laboratory results.
  2. Laboratories – Diagnostic laboratories rely on phlebotomists to collect blood samples and process them for various tests. Phlebotomists in laboratory settings follow strict protocols for specimen handling, quality control, and result reporting, contributing to accurate diagnoses and patient care.
  3. Blood Banks and Donation Centers – One of the most central places for a phlebotomist to be found would be at a facility built for blood collection. Blood banks and donation centers heavily rely on phlebotomists to collect blood donations from voluntary donors. Phlebotomists ensure the safety, quality, and proper labeling of donated blood products, which are used for transfusions, surgeries, and medical treatments. Their expertise in blood collection is critical for maintaining a stable blood supply and supporting patient needs.
  4. Nursing or Long-Term Care Facilities – Phlebotomists may work in nursing homes, assisted living facilities, and long-term care centers to provide blood collection services for elderly residents and patients with chronic conditions. They collaborate with healthcare teams to monitor residents’ health status, conduct routine blood tests, and facilitate timely interventions when necessary.

Phlebotomists play a crucial role in various settings, including clinics, laboratories, blood banks, long-term care facilities, community health programs, and research institutions. Their expertise in blood collection and specimen handling is essential for accurate diagnoses, patient care, and public health initiatives.

By challenging misconceptions about pain, recognizing phlebotomists as healthcare professionals, and showcasing their diverse roles beyond hospitals, we empower patients with knowledge and foster respect for phlebotomy professionals. If you’re interested in becoming a phlebotomist, American National University has the programs for you whether you have existing degrees or not. Go to to learn more.

American National University – Be live, in class, from anywhere.

Translate »