Do you want to become a medical assistant and train in phlebotomy at the same time? Medical assistant training programs provide comprehensive education, including phlebotomy techniques, infection control, and patient communication. You’ll graduate in 7 ½ months with the technical and people skills you need to feel confident as a medical assistant trained in phlebotomy.
How Do You Train for Phlebotomy?
There’s more than one way to train for phlebotomy, but becoming a medical assistant is among the most rewarding ways to gain this valuable skill. Vocational school programs prepare you to draw blood and process samples in an office setting.
You’ll learn theory in the classroom, building a foundation of scientific knowledge upon which you can cultivate your skills. Seasoned instructors show you the ropes using models, simulations, and peer volunteers. Programs include externship opportunities, which are short, supervised clinical experiences during which, may include blood draws.
What Are the Steps for Phlebotomy for Medical Assistants?
Phlebotomy is the process of drawing venous blood for medical testing or donation purposes. Steps may vary slightly by setting but typically include:
Verifying the Patient’s Identity
Check the patient’s name and date of birth against their records. Identification can lead to serious medical errors. Verification ensures patients receive only the appropriate tests and treatments.
Reviewing the Requisition
Doctors use paper or electronic requisition forms to order tests. They include instructions on which tests to perform and why. A review will guide your equipment selection and screen for medical or billing inconsistencies in the request. The safest time to ask questions is before blood is drawn.
Gathering venipuncture supplies, such as gloves, alcohol swabs, needles and collection tubes before drawing blood helps avoid unnecessary interruptions and delays. It streamlines the procedure, alleviates patient anxiety and reduces the risk of infection.
Preparing the Patient
Before performing any procedure, medical assistants explain the process to patients and verify their consent to proceed. Making them comfortable is a priority.
Most people sit for the procedures, but people with a fear of needles or a history of fainting may need to lie down. Safety first.
Washing Your Hands
Handwashing is still the most effective way to protect yourself and others from infection during venipuncture. Scrub your hands vigorously with soap and warm water for a full 20 seconds before beginning.
The minimum personal protective equipment for drawing blood is a pair of clean gloves. Part of “universal precautions,” they protect you against bloodborne pathogens. When working with challenging patients, wearing a face shield can deflect splashes. And consider a lab coat or apron to safeguard your clothing.
Appling the Tourniquet
Applying a tourniquet above the site of the venipuncture sequesters blood in the vein, making it easier to find and more resistant to rolling or collapsing when punctured. Although venous blood can be drawn from any vein, medical assistants are trained to use sites on the hand, wrist or near the elbow.
Cleansing the Site
Phlebotomy isn’t a sterile procedure, but cleaning the site with an alcohol swab reduces the risk of infection. The proper technique helps stop skin bacteria from infecting the draw site.
Puncturing the Vein
Bracing the vein with the thumb and index finger on your non-dominant hand, use your dominant hand to puncture the vein at a 15- to 30-degree angle. Needles should be bevel-up and suitable for the patient’s size and physical condition.
Collecting the Blood
Push the collection tube into the tube holder and draw the necessary amount of blood. Remove and replace the tube with as many as necessary to collect the required volume. Tubes are color-coded to reflect additives that are necessary for specific tests. You may need to collect one, two, three or even more tubes depending on the types of tests ordered.
Once the draw is complete, withdraw the needle and apply firm pressure to the site with a cotton ball or gauze pad to prevent bleeding and bruising. Applying a small adhesive bandage will protect the patient’s clothing.
Dispose of used supplies according to safety and infection control protocols. Needles are put in puncture-proof “sharps” containers. Gloves and gauze go in the regular trash bin or a biohazard bag, depending on the situation.
Educating the Patient
Venipuncture may occasionally result in complications like infections and bruising. Part of a medical assistant’s role is to teach patients self-care measures. You’ll advise them to keep the area clean and apply ice to swollen or bruised areas, providing them with contact information for follow-up. Most patients are also anxious about the results, so let them know when to expect a call.
Labeling and Processing Samples
Label the collection tubes with the patient’s information, the ordering doctor’s name and the time and date of collection. Accuracy is critical. Process them according to the laboratory’s guide to ensure they’re test-ready. Some may need to be centrifuged to separate the liquid from the solids in the blood. Others may require refrigeration or flash freezing.
Medical assistants working in full-service laboratories may assist with testing. Otherwise, samples should be prepared for prompt shipment or courier transport.
Document the Procedure
In healthcare, something isn’t considered done until it’s fully documented. You’ll note the procedure in the patient’s chart, including the date, time, venipuncture site, complications, and education provided.
What Else Do You Learn During a Medical Assisting Program?
Medical assisting programs cover a broad range of health and administrative topics. You’ll learn much more than just phlebotomy. Subjects include:
Medical assisting programs kick off with a terminology primer. You’ll learn the common language, abbreviations, and acronyms used in healthcare settings. This gives you the skills necessary to effectively communicate with patients and other medical professionals.
Anatomy and Physiology
Anatomy and physiology classes cover the structure and function of the human body. Students investigate how the body is made, from cells to tissues to organs and organ systems, as it applies to disease, injury and treatments.
Medical assistants administer oral, injectable and topical medications under a doctor’s or nurse’s supervision, so a working knowledge of how medicines work is essential. This course touches on drug classifications, dose calculations, administration techniques and interactions. You’ll learn about patient rights and responsibilities, and home drug safety.
Medical Billing and Coding
Most medical assistants have a clinical role, but because most of their responsibilities have a financial component, they need a background in billing and coding. Topics in this class include insurance models, coding systems, billing procedures and regulatory compliance. You’ll learn how to verify insurance coverage, complete claim forms, and follow up on preauthorization requests and rejected claims.
Electronic Health Records (EHR)
Electronic health records are a digital version of what was once a paper chart. As a medical assistant, you’ll access, update, share and save medical and billing information daily. Practicing on a computer with mock charts, you’ll learn how to manage data and document clinical encounters while securing records and protecting patient privacy.
Medical Office Procedures
Vocational school programs teach medical assistants how to manage workflow in a healthcare setting. Topics include scheduling, patient intake, inventory management and recordkeeping. The use of technology is emphasized.
Clinical and Laboratory Procedures
Medical assistants perform a variety of clinical and laboratory procedures, from taking vital signs and giving injections to EKGs and phlebotomy. Instructors provide hands-on training in laboratory and clinical settings.
Infection control and medical asepsis protocols protect patients and workers from contagious diseases. This class teaches you how to maintain a safe working environment. Topics include microbiology, hand hygiene, personal protective equipment, environmental controls and sanitation techniques.
Medical Law and Ethics
Medical assistants learn about the principles of medical ethics, including patient rights and autonomy, beneficence, non-maleficence, professional boundaries and cultural competence. You’ll gain the knowledge and skills necessary to navigate the many legal, regulatory, and moral challenges common in healthcare facilities.
Communication and Client Care
Medical assistants play a critical role in the patient-provider relationship, communication and client care are important principles to understand. This course delves into therapeutic communication techniques, patient safety and customer service, preparing students to meet the highest professional standards.
Graduating from a medical assisting program is just the beginning of a secure and rewarding career. Vocational schools are invested in students’ success, so teaching them how to climb the career ladder is as important as any other skill. In this class, you’ll learn about continuing education, certification, workplace culture and professional growth, from searching for a job to acing an interview.
There’s more to medical assisting than drawing blood, but good phlebotomy skills make you a better job applicant. Vocational school programs offer the training you need for success today and growth tomorrow.
Want to Learn More?
The Medical Assistant program at Hunter Business School prepares competent, entry-level medical assistants in the cognitive (knowledge), psychomotor (skills), and affective (behavior) learning domains required for professional practice. The Medical Assistant program provides hands-on experience in a real medical setting where you can foster professional relationships with actual patients. Medical Assistant students spend 160 hours in an externship in an actual medical environment where they are supervised and taught in order to gain valuable on-the-job training.
The Medical Assistant training program is accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs, 9355 – 113th St. N, #7709 Seminole, FL 33775 upon the recommendation of the Medical Assisting Education Review Board (MAERB).
Contact us today to find out more on how to become a medical assistant on Long Island.