Day in the Life
The phlebotomy technician arrives at work in a hospital setting very early, sometimes at 4 am, to collect the morning samples. If the phlebotomist works in an outpatient clinic setting, the starting time may be later. Phlebotomists can work on any shift in a hospital as well. They "clock in" on the time clock, and they are off!! The phlebotomists stocks their carts/areas with the necessary supplies required for the day.
Hospital In-Patient Setting:
They phlebotomists obtain their blood drawing lists from the laboratory information system (LIS) computer. They then proceed to go out to the hospital floors to draw the patients on their lists. Different units require specialty teams at some hospitals: pediatric samples are usually reserved for experienced specialty phlebotomists, as are intensive care unit patients. Periodically, the technicians return to the lab processing area, to drop off their samples. Other times, they send them via a pneumatic tube system to the lab.
Out Patient Setting:
The printer for the labels which will go on the patients' tubes will print out near the outpatient station. The phlebotomist collects the blood based on the orders indicated on the labels. The out patient technician is quite busy drawing a variety of patients. Some are healthy, many are not. Some are very challenging. The pace can be very fast in this setting.
Most phlebotomy technicians are also involved in the return of specimens to the lab, logging them into the laboratory computer system as "collected", centrifuging them, taking off and storing plasma and serum from the tubes, and occasionally assisting in reporting.
Training of new phlebotomists, performing quality control procedures on lab equipment and documenting it, and also running of point-of-care tests such as hemoglobin or fecal occult blood.