How To Draw Blood

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The very first thing that you should learn if you decide to become a phlebotomist is how to draw blood.

It is essential to becoming a phlebotomist, as you must follow the proper steps to collecting blood.

The whole process starts with gathering the right equipment and finishes with a proper We are offering you this informative guide with all the steps of taking a blood sample.

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A Step-By-Step Guide To Performing Venipuncture

It is worth mentioning that this guide follows the steps as outlined in the World Health Organization Guidelines on Drawing Blood: Best Practices in Phlebotomy.

Step 1: Gather Equipment

A phlebotomist is in charge of gathering all the necessary equipment and tools that are necessary to perform the blood draw.

Then, he/she should place them on a tray which will be at hand.

Typically, the necessary equipment will include:

  • Blood collection tubes
  • Non-sterile gloves
  • An assortment of needles and syringes of different sizes
  • Tourniquet
  • Alcohol and alcohol swabs
  • Gauze or cotton balls
  • Laboratory forms and blood-specimen labels
  • Transportation bags and sharps container

Step 2: Prepping The Patient

The moment you gather the necessary supplies, you need to speak to the patient so as to calm him/her down and get him/her ready for the procedure.

  • Introduce yourself and ask for the patient’s full name.
  • Double-check that the patient’s name matches the name on the lab form.
  • Ask the patient about any allergies or complications during previous blood draws.
  • Make the patient comfortable
  • Ask the patient to extend their arm and place a clean towel or paper underneath.
  • Explain the blood draw procedure

Step 3: Locate The Vein

  • Once the patient’s arm extended, you will need to inspect the antecubital fossa.
  • The next step is to look for a visible, good-sized vein, in the majority of cases, the median cubital vein.
  • The vein must be clearly visible before applying the tourniquet.
  • Apply the tourniquet 3 to 4 inches above the venipuncture.

Step 4: Prepare Your Hands

  • We need to emphasize that proper hygiene is essential.
  • So as to safely perform venipuncture you must wash hands with soap and water and dry with a clean, single-use towel.
  • You can also clean hands with an alcohol rub
  • After cleaning your hands, you may put on non-sterile gloves.

Step 5: Disinfect Site

  • Disinfection of the site before drawing blood is obligatory, as it reduces the chances of contamination.
  • This should be done with 70% alcohol.
  • You should start from the center of the venipuncture site and work outwards, covering 2-4cms.
  • Then, the area should be left to dry with the aim to reduce the risk of contamination.
  • The disinfected site should not be touched.
  • In case it was touched or contaminated, you are required to repeat the cleaning process.

Step 6: Draw Blood

A phlebotomist should perform venipuncture using the following steps:

  • Place the thumb below the venipuncture site to anchor the vein.
  • Do not touch the venipuncture site, and if it happens, repeat the cleaning process.
  • Ask the patient to ball up their hand (form a fist).
  • Puncture the vein quickly and at a 30-degree angle or less.
  • Upon blood collection, release the tourniquet before removing the needle from the vein.
  • Slowly take the needle out of the vein and gently apply pressure to the puncture site with a clean gauze or cotton ball.
  • The patient should hold the gauze or cotton on the site with their arm extended for a few minutes.

Step 7: Fill Tubes

  • In case you are collecting multiple tubes of blood, our suggestion is to use evacuated tubes with a needle and tube holder.
  • This will allow the tubes to be filled directly.
  • Another option is to use a syringe or winged needle set and make sure to place the tube into a rack before filling.
  • Pierce the tube stopper with the needle gently.
  • It is important not to press the syringe plunger so as to reduce the risk of hemolysis.
  • If the tube does not have a rubber stopper, you should inject the blood slowly into the tube to minimize pressure and also to reduce the chances of hemolysis.
  • The next step is to invert the tubes containing additives for the specified number of times.

Step 8: Complete The Procedure

  • Once all the above steps are taken, you should discard the used equipment into a puncture-resistant container.
  • Those items that have not got in touch with blood may be discarded into a general waste container, but this depends on the state and/or local regulations.
  • Then, you must double-check that the labels and forms are completely and accurately filled out.
  • You must also check how the patient feels.
  • Another important step is checking the insertion site to confirm it is not bleeding.
  • Thank the patient and clean hands using the process described in step 4.

Step 9: Prepare Blood Samples

  • A phlebotomist has to place the collected samples into a plastic sealed and leak-proof bag for proper transportation.
  • Sometimes, there are multiple sample tubes, so the tubes have to be placed in a rack to avoid any breakage and cross-contamination.
  • Also, they have to place any forms in an outside pocket or compartment to reduce the risk of contamination.

Step 10: Clean Up

In case the blood has spilled during the procedure or during transportation, you are required to follow these procedures:

  • Put on gloves
  • Soak up large spills with paper towels
  • You need to discard them in an infectious waste container.
  • The next step is to use a wet cloth to clean the spill
  • Clean the area with a 1:10 dilution of a 5.25% chlorine bleach to water solution.
  • The solution should be left on the affected area for 10 minutes.
  • Surfaces that do not tolerate a strong bleach require the usage of a 1:100 dilution of 5.25% bleach solution.

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