How To Draw Blood

Search Phlebotomy Technician Programs

Get information on Phlebotomy Technician programs by entering your zip code and request enrollment information.

Sponsored Search

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.

Search Phlebotomy Technician Programs

Get information on Phlebotomy Technician programs by entering your zip code and request enrollment information.

Sponsored Listings

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.

Related Articles


How to Boost Your Phlebotomy Salary

Whichever profession you choose, the salary is one of the reasons why exactly that profession was your pick. If you…

How Much Does Phlebotomy Technician School Cost?

How Much Does Phlebotomy Technician School Cost?

Working with needles is not for everyone, but for phlebotomy technicians is their everyday pleasure. A phlebotomist is a crucial…

blood tests

American Red Cross Phlebotomy Training & Information

The American Red Cross is one of the most notable organizations when blood drawing is in question, but they also…

blood tests

How to Deal with Rude Patients in Phlebotomy

Being that there are various types of people and phlebotomists have to deal with all of them, they may come…

Search Programs