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8 Secrets No Phlebotomy Technician Will Ever Share With You

Phlebotomy Technician Needle

Beverley Goodwin / Flickr / CC BY-SA

Though it has gone by other names, phlebotomy is a centuries-old tradition. Phlebotomy training has certainly come a long way since its early days, although its purpose – to heal – remains the same. You may cringe every time you have to have blood drawn for testing, but after reading these secrets, you’ll be more intrigued.

1. Bloodletting Still Exists

Bloodletting

Mayan Relief of Royal Bloodletting
Ann Wuyts / Flickr / CC BY

Bloodletting seems more like a barbaric practice of bygone days than something we would ever expect from modern medicine. While this procedure may seem like a primitive treatment or dramatic effect in a movie, it does in fact have a modern-day use. Today, this technique is used for treating illnesses such as hemochromatosis, polycythemia vera and porphyria cutanea tarda.

All of these diseases involve overproduction of blood cells or abnormal metabolism of nutrients that can’t be cured with medications. Without bloodletting, these people would become very sick and even be at risk of death.

2. Leeching Treatments Are Back

The thought may make your skin crawl, but this age-old technique can still be useful in modern medicine. Today, leech therapy is mostly used in microsurgery and reimplantation surgeries.

Leeches aid in reducing inflammation and tissue death in skin grafting and reimplanting of fingers, ears and toes, often in cases where no other treatment has worked. That’s because leeches take care of clots that form in reimplantation that would otherwise cause these tissues to die in their own fluids.

In the past, leeches were used to treat all sorts of things. Ear infections, migraines and hemorrhoids were all treated with leeches. Today, scientists think they might be able to treat osteoarthritis and potentially other common diseases.

3. Your Blood Is Medicine

Blood Bank

Thirteen Of Clubs / Flickr / CC BY-SA

While blood drawn for the purposes of diagnosis is not used in medications, donated blood can be. Plasma, the liquid part of your blood, contains over 700 proteins and other substances important to the functioning of the human body. This amazing liquid makes up about 55% of our blood volume and is used as a sort of storage area.

Plasma can be used directly in blood transfusion or separated into the substances that comprise it. Immunoglobulins can be used for those with autoimmune issues and coagulation factors can be used for people with clotting issues. These are just a few of plasma’s many uses.

4. Barbers Were Once Phlebotomists

Shave and a haircut, plus a little blood let? Yup – but not in a shaving accident. Barbers drew blood throughout medieval times. Interestingly, barbers came into this position when Pope Alexander III issued an edict in 1163 prohibiting clergy from participating in the practice of operations where blood was present.

The barber pole is a sign that represents this past duty, and was thought to be used to tell travelers that the barber could perform phlebotomy. The white represents the bandages used, while the red is a symbol for bloodletting and phlebotomy. What the pole itself represents is not quite as clear.

Some say it’s the stick that was squeezed to make veins stand out, while others say that it was the pole used to hold the arm straight. Either way, the pole we see today has nothing to do with the modern-day tasks barbers perform.

5. It’s Not Just for Humans

Ever think you’re the only species that must endure this seemingly gruesome procedure? Phlebotomy is also used in veterinary medicine. While the subjects of the procedure may be different, the reasons for performing it are generally the same!

6.Phlebotomy Training is Relatively Inexpensive

Phlebotomy Taking Blood

madichan / Flickr / CC BY-NC

If you’re looking to start a career or possibly make a career change, you can choose from phlebotomy courses that are a few weeks or a few months long. The length of the program means that it will cost you far less than a program like nursing.

These programs are offered at a variety of institutions from community colleges to vocational schools. It may not be quite as cheap as the on-the-job training for clergyman and barbers in the Middle Ages, but it’s certainly a far cry from the bank-breaking cost of medical school. This variety also enables people who have full-time jobs to adapt their education program to their needs.

7. The Job Market Looks Good

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), employment of phlebotomists is on the rise. The profession is expected to grow by 27% from 2012 to 2022. This makes for a great job outlook.

8. Flexible Work Environments and Hours

Phlebotomy Training Taking Blood

madichan / Flickr / CC BY-NC

As a certified phlebotomy technician, you have the ability to work in many places including hospitals, doctors’ offices and research facilities. These diverse locations allow phlebotomists to find a schedule that works for them during days, nights, evenings or weekends.

The ability to have a flexible schedule makes phlebotomy a great career for individuals who may have childcare or other responsibilities that demand alternative work hours.

Besides being able to set a specialized schedule and work in many different places, you’ll also have the opportunity to work with various medical professionals, including nurses, doctors, EMTs, surgeons, paramedics, laboratory scientists and dialysis techs – no barbers or clergy required.

Does all of this cool information leave you wondering how to become a phlebotomist? If so, learn more about our phlebotomy technician training program today!