Phlebotomists are one of the many essential workers in the healthcare sector. With modern expansion in medical services, diagnostics and research on blood samples is only increasing. In the past two decades the employment opportunities for phlebotomists have diversified at a phenomenal rate. With the increasing need for collecting and processing of blood, phlebotomists employment opportunities are at an all-time high. If you are interested in phlebotomy and want to know more about employment opportunities in the UK you are in the right place. But before we get to where phlebotomists can work let’s see who are phlebotomists.
Who are Phlebotomists
Phlebotomists are healthcare professionals who carry out the blood drawing process from sick and healthy individuals. The blood collected by phlebotomists serves a number of purposes ranging from clinical diagnosis to research experiments. The process of drawing blood is also called venipuncture and involves using needles. As a phlebotomist you have to explain the procedure to the patients and comfort them through the whole process.
Where Phlebotomists can work
A phlebotomist can find work in a number of institutes that specialize in providing health services. It is to be noted that technical requirements may vary across the many institutes but the core principle of phlebotomy or venipuncture remains the same. While researching on How to Become a Phlebotomist – Explore Jobs and Career Paths, we found that young individuals interested in phlebotomy and look for employment opportunities, so we put together this comprehensive list that will give you a clear idea on where you can expect to work with a phlebotomist’s credentials
Hospitals are the obvious answer to the question of where a phlebotomist can work. According to a research report published in 2019, hospitals under the National Health Service (NHS) have increased phlebotomists full-time-equivalent (FTE) positions by 700 between 2017-18. The rising number of phlebotomists positions suggests an overall increase in the demand for phlebotomists. So if you want to become an NHS employed phlebotomist there are increased opportunities now more than ever.
2) Private Clinics
Private clinics are the smaller equivalent to working in an NHS hospital. They do not employ as many phlebotomists as large hospitals. Usually private clinics employ one or two phlebotomists depending on the size of the clinic and number of physicians involved. Private clinics pay better than NHS hospitals but are less numerous. Private clinics also tend to employ experienced phlebotomists and pathologists instead of recruiting fresh trainees.
3) Insurance Services
Insurance services require blood samples to be processed in a variety of insurance claims, specially for medical and employment insurance. To preserve authenticity an insurance company may employ their own phlebotomist who will collect samples and personally deliver them for testing. Although most companies rely on private phlebotomy services where the phlebotomist is employed by a third party. This can be considered as a secondary employment opportunity in the insurance industry for phlebotomists.
4) Diagnostic Laboratories
Diagnostic laboratories for the most part depend on phlebotomists to collect customers’ blood samples. This is the second largest employment opportunity for phlebotomists after hospitals. In a diagnostics setting a phlebotomist needs to collect samples and label them accordingly before sorting them up for different tests. Diagnostic laboratories usually employ more than three phlebotomists. In some cases phlebotomists may be required to collect samples from out patients.
5) Research Laboratories
Research laboratories may employ any number of phlebotomists depending on the research project and funding. In a research setting phlebotomists work with a different criteria compared to hospitals and diagnostic labs. Research laboratories often need to collect samples that are time sensitive so phlebotomists may be called in for late night or early morning sample collections. Research laboratories do not have a fixed salary since the operating costs depend on the research projects budget. However, working at a research laboratory allows phlebotomists to interact with top researchers and graduate students that makes it more rewarding for individuals not interested in working in health care.
6) Old age homes
Old age homes employ one or two phlebotomists with at least one being a supervising phlebotomist. Old age homes monitor the health conditions of elderly residents on a regular basis so having an in house phlebotomist reduces the hassle involved in having someone come in from third party institutions. Working in old age homes as a phlebotomist means you need to be comfortable drawing blood from elderly folks and interact with them.
7) Blood Banks
Blood banks require phlebotomists for the obvious reasons. Blood transfusions require phlebotomists to match donor and recipient samples. For this reason additional training in blood grouping and pathology may be necessary. Phlebotomists working for blood banks often participate in Blood donation campaigns outside the blood bank facility. Working for blood banks is one of the most satisfying work places as a phlebotomist because you get to provide help to people of all ages both healthy and sick.
In a strictly technical sense a Phlebotomist needs to have a clear understanding of Biology, Psychology and Mathematics. But that is just the tip of the iceberg. Beneath phlebotomists need to have people skills along with dexterity. To become a professional phlebotomist you will need to present certification for official training as a phlebotomist. The basic outline for pursuing phlebotomists positions is as follows,
1) A-levels or Equivalent Diploma
First thing is you need to pass high school or A-levels. Although phlebotomy training programs do not require higher education such as college, they require a high school diploma for enrolment. Since you don’t need to be a college grad to be a phlebotomist you can apply for training as soon as you finish high school. However, you need to be a minimum of 18 years old at the time of enrolment.
Tons of programmes are available for training phlebotomists. Several colleges offer phlebotomy courses although the seats are limited. To make up for the demand a number of independent organizations provide training opportunities as well.
However, you can also complete any of the following degrees to gain a competitive edge.
Training can be divided into one or two semesters. Some course providers also have four to eight month crash courses. Theoretical courses involve Anatomy and Physiology, and the Basics of Psychology, but the actual training is practical exercises and demonstrations that teach you the intricate details of drawing blood in a friendly and efficient way.
Certificates ensure mainly two things, a) You get the legitimate pay according to the national pay scale and b) Reliable outputs for employers. Most employers in the UK require some form of official certification when recruiting phlebotomists. Institutions such as the UK Phlebotomists Association require accredited certificates to become a member. Alongside technical credentials some employers require validated Immunological History (i.e. Hepatitis B immunisation) as a protocol for working in critical care environments.
Phlebotomy is a service directly interacting with patients. Patients with anxiety or vein conditions pose one of the toughest challenges for phlebotomists. In the end, phlebotomy just like other health care professions attracts people who want to help others. If you have good eye-hand coordination, steady nerves, no issues with needles and blood then phlebotomy just might be your way to give back to the community while making an honest living. Check out this educational video on YouTube for more.