Phlebotomy Class Worth It?

  1. 0
    Hello all! I have a couple questions for everyone.

    In my nursing school, we covered IV insertion in lab and we were given 5 "sticks". We were then told any other experience we wanted would have to come during clinical. Of course we got to start a couple IVs during the ER rotation, L&D and surgery, but other than that, there aren't many IV starting opportunities on the Med/Surg floors.

    I would say in two semesters (including my practices) I have had 15 IV tries. I am not as good and confident as I would like to be at them, so one of my classmates found an inexpensive 3-day phlebotomy class that I am considering taking. My questions are these:

    1) Are phlebotomy sticks the same as IV ones?
    2) Do you see a benefit to taking a phlebotomy class to gain experience and/or confidence?
    3) Would a phlebotomy certificate look good a resume for a new nurse? - does it give you any advantage.

    Thanks everyone!
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  3. 10 Comments so far...

  4. 0
    No, they are different. Most places do not let phlebs insert IVs. Plus the needle is different. Not to mention that some hospitals instead use vacutainer adapters which is basically a small needle that doesn't go into the vein like an IV catheter. The tip goes in and you insert the tubes on it. I suck with those. I will use either a needle and syringe or a butterfly before I use a vacutainer. It's because I don't have experience with it. With the vacutainer, you don't have to find a vein that you think you can thread an IV catheter in.
  5. 0
    Green34 is absolutely correct --- another issue that blood draws are done at the AC and hopefully most of your IVs are going to be lower. It's also possible to blow the vein during the stick and still get the blood necessary for the lab to run their tests and you could never have a patent IV with a blown vein.
  6. 0
    Absolutely boosts confidence, though, to have the phlebotomy experience. I say go for it! How can extra knowledge and experience hurt? Good luck!
  7. 0
    I'd recommend a phlebotomy course! I'm not a certified phlebotomist, but I've been told that because I know how to draw blood already that IV's will be easy to start. I'm not sure how true that is, but it definitely boosts my confidence- and I'm sure it would for you as well! :-)

    Good luck!
  8. 1
    It's not true. your basic phleb course will focus on those nice big veins inside the elbow...and that's pretty much THE LAST place you'll ever place an IV. What will boost your confidence is doing real IV starts in real people at work, and they'll pay YOU for that, not the other way around. Save your money.

    I know students are always looking for a sure-fire way to make themselves stand out in the crowd at the hiring hall, but, you know, this ain't it.
    amoLucia likes this.
  9. 1
    Quote from ebailey1218
    1) Are phlebotomy sticks the same as IV ones?
    2) Do you see a benefit to taking a phlebotomy class to gain experience and/or confidence?
    3) Would a phlebotomy certificate look good a resume for a new nurse? - does it give you any advantage.
    1. No--learning to draw blood on a relatively health person is way different that starting an IV on an 85 year old, dehydrated, dialysis pt.
    2. It will give you confidence for future blood draws, but not really for starting IVs.
    3. I can't speak for every NM out there, but I would say no. The fact that your graduated from nursing school and passed the NCLEX is what will get you an RN job, not a weekend "cert" class.

    I had one chance in school to start and IV (which blew right when we started fluid...boo). I never had a chance to draw blood. Based on the discussions I've seen on here, many students do not even get one chance to start an IV in school. If you get a job that requires you to start IVs, your will get plenty of chances to build your confidence. After you get a job, see if you can follow the IV team in the hospital, or, if no IV team, see if you can spend some time in the ER just to get more IV chances. Unfortunately, a phlebotomy class is not going to get me more confidence in IV starts, and really would not be a wise use of your time and money.
    GrnTea likes this.
  10. 0
    Phlebotomy will help you learn to find good veins. You don't get to learn to insert IVs, which is a completely different technique. However, if you're good a finding veins on people who are difficult sticks, then you'll have a small leg up on assessing veins.

    The ICU nurse where my father in law is at right now said that her nursing students who did phlebotomy before clinicals were always able to locate suitable veins quicker than those who didn't have experience. It doesn't make you better at inserting them, but knowing how to pick the best vein available certainly helps.

    I did phlebotomy certification prior to applying to nursing school. I feel confident if I have to do blood draws, but I know that first IV is still going to be nerve-wracking because it's a completely different technique. Some people just have a "feel" for it and others don't. The ICU nurse said "if you're good at starting IVs, everyone will love you on the floor."

    Since you've already gone through nursing school, I wouldn't take an extra phlebotomy course.
  11. 0
    Blah! More money down the turlette in my opinion. It's nice to know how to "find veins" but drawing blood from mostly healthy people is completely different from inserting IV's on sick, dehydrated elderly and the non-elderly! And most hospitals have protocols for IV placement and its not in that juicy spot they teach the phlebbies to draw blood from...
  12. 0
    I was a certified phlebotomist before nursing school and it didn't help much at all. Totally different sticking a needle for a blood draw than actually threading the IV. I rarely did any IVs in the CCU but did 600+ in anesthesia school.


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