Venipuncture training teaches the theory and practice of extracting blood from a human or animal safely. This training includes a substantial amount of background information on topics such as safety procedures, which ensure that blood is drawn with the least amount of risk to both the patient and the technician performing the procedure, known as a phlebotomist. A practical component is also included in such training, during which a student learns and practices the specific techniques for performing various types of blood draws on a variety of patients. Veterinary medicine necessitates specialized venipuncture techniques and training due to the unique challenges of drawing blood from animals.
A venipuncture training course will typically begin teaching proper safety precautions and venipuncture preparation techniques. Before blood is drawn, a technician must learn which forms and authorizations are required so that they can be checked. The skills required to assess a patient’s condition are also covered in training. When working with patients who are physically or psychologically distressed, a phlebotomist must be cautious.
The next set of skills typically taught in venipuncture training is choosing the appropriate tools and venipuncture sites. Although a needle is most commonly used, a lancet is occasionally used, especially when only a small amount of blood is required or when working with children. At this stage of venipuncture training, proper safety procedures are also emphasized. This is necessary both to protect those who are undergoing venipuncture and to prevent the phlebotomist from being exposed to blood-borne pathogens.
Venipuncture training emphasizes the actual drawing of blood, and phlebotomists are taught proper techniques for locating and tapping veins. Blood must be drawn in a specific order for various types of collection equipment and procedures, which is explained during training. The proper use of equipment to prevent excessive blood loss is discussed, as well as the proper treatment of the site of a blood draw after the procedure is completed.
Phlebotomists must also have good patient-handling skills. Many patients have negative reactions to having their blood drawn, and venipuncture training usually includes a discussion of how to avoid these reactions. Because some patients may be hesitant to admit their concerns about having blood drawn, good patient assessment and communication skills are especially important in this part of venipuncture training.
Venipuncture training also includes proper blood and blood product handling. Phlebotomists must learn how to properly label and sterilize specimens. Blood that is collected for transfusions or other procedures must be properly stored and labeled. At this point, understanding proper administrative procedures is critical.