Because phlebotomy has become such a popular entry-level career choice, more and more people are trying to gain experience to have more of an ‘edge’ when it comes to finding a great job.
While the popularity of the career coincides with the need, getting phlebotomy experience can not only help you to feel more comfortable when it comes to your job, but it can advance your career quickly into more full-time, or even supervisory positions.
There are several ways to get the experience needed to become a certified phlebotomist.
How to Get Phlebotomy Experience through Training
As you train to become a phlebotomist, by going through a course that will take many weeks, it’s important to make sure the program you’re using has a hands-on portion. Even training courses online will typically offer some kind of connection program with a local clinic, hospital, etc., so you can actually gain real-life experience.
You can read, and study, and know the procedures fully, but experiencing all of it head on is a completely different story.
In most cases, you can’t fulfill your training unless you have reached a certain number of venipunctures (drawing blood). This will typically be done with other trainees in a classroom setting, but you can also sometimes go to specific medical locations to get a feel for how everything works, and essentially ‘shadow’ a current phlebotomist.
You may not be able to actually take the blood of patients, but watching and learning in that kind of environment can be extremely beneficial, and it can also help you to learn standard safety procedures, lab protocol, and more.
Experience through Volunteering
Once you’ve completed phlebotomy training, chances are you’ll be looking for employment somewhere, but unfortunately it doesn’t always come as quickly as most of us would like. However, that doesn’t mean you can’t put your skills to good work, gain excellent experience, and having something great to put on your resume, all at once.
There are many businesses, institutions, and organizations who can always benefit from certified phlebotomists who can offer their time and expertise.
The American Red Cross, for example, is always in need of volunteers both at their blood bank facilities, and for mobile blood drives all across the country. Chances are, there are always blood drives going on near you.
Find out if your local Red Cross branch needs additional phlebotomy help to meet the demands of these drives. This can be a great way to not only get venipuncture experience, but hands-on experience in working directly with different types of people.
A couple other opportune places that many people often forget about are nursing homes, and even prisons/jails.
Oftentimes, these places won’t have a phlebotomist on staff, but will look for volunteers to take blood samples for various reasons, if someone is ill, etc. Because they can be easily overlooked, finding a position quickly is usually pretty easy to do.
Again, volunteering anywhere can really set you apart from others who are applying for the same phlebotomy jobs.
Gaining Experience as an Intern
For possibly the best ‘training-to-job’ experience, you might consider becoming a phlebotomy intern at a hospital or clinic. Many hospitals offer both training and internships together, and usually will give preference to students who use their programs for training when it comes time to hire more phlebotomists.
As an intern for a hospital or clinic, not only will you gain experience, but you’ll learn how that particular institution works, what their procedures are, etc. So, getting a job there is usually the following step. It’s a great way to give yourself more job security and better your chances of finding immediate employment after your training is complete.
You’ll typically work alongside a licensed phlebotomist, shadowing what they do. Every internship is different, and some will allow you to actually draw blood from the patients, while others will not. Be sure to look into what your local hospital(s) offer as far as internships, and how you can take advantage of what they can offer in furthering your career – possibly before it even really starts!
Making the Most of Gaining Phlebotomy Experience
Phlebotomy has become a more important and more popular career choice than ever, and everywhere from hospitals to private practices are hiring at a rapid pace to fill this growing need. But, more and more people are also training to become phlebotomists and fill those positions, so it’s important to do what you can to stand out from the crowd when you’re searching for a job.
Getting phlebotomy experience, even before you start an actual job, can benefit you in so many ways. Not only will you be comfortable working with a variety of people, but you’ll also be more comfortable with the standard procedures of any facility, and perhaps most importantly, you’ll be more confident in your venipuncture skills. That can really ‘make or break’ a new phlebotomist, when it comes to making a patient feel comfortable, and typically, those are the skills you’ll only get through extra experience.
Plus, aside from gaining self-confidence and better performance skills, having extra experience on your resume can be a great asset for you when it comes time to look for a job. Again, standing out from others in such a competitive job field is important, and could be the difference in you getting hired instead of someone else.
Because training doesn’t take that long to complete, there’s plenty of time to finish a great training program, become certified, and gain quality experience before starting your first official job as a phlebotomist – in fact, it can all happen in less than a year, so don’t be afraid to search for opportunities near you when trying to figure out how to get phlebotomy experience.