brushing up on phlebotomy


hey everyone. i'm about to start a new job in a doctor's office that will require me to regularly perform phlebotomy (every nurse rotates through one week in the lab and then the next 3-4 weeks in the other part of the office). i just graduated in june and while we did have a phlebotomy course in school, it was brief and we didn't get any live practice. i've been working in a hospital for the last few months, so of course there was a team of phlebotomists on staff to do all of our draws. i'm NERVOUS! the rest of the staff is well aware of my skill level and prepared to train me thoroughly on this. still, i would like to brush up on it a little before i get in there and start sticking patients. i've gone through my books and i'm looking for some online resources. any help (and encouraging words) are greatly appreciated. thanks!

Specializes in Oncology, Med-Surg, ED. Has 5 years experience.

My only advice,

Try everyone at least will get better the more sticks you attempt.

Be brave, go in with 1 needle, say "I AM going to draw some blood, and DO IT!!!

Hang in there!

Specializes in Emergency, Trauma, Flight.

my advice... DON'T be nervous or you will mess up!!

just go do it... it's really not a big deal....if you are just collecting blood then you can just use a butterfly...

i start a line on everyone of my pts that i think that might need blood work and i never use anything less than a 20 gauge... those butterflys are like uber small... and quit worrying!!!... you will do just fine...

and keep in mind.

practice makes perfect!!!!.... you will do just fine... don't stress!!!



121 Posts

Specializes in ICU. Has 4 years experience.

My advice is to be really really observant about how the feeling of the push on the needle changes as you enter the lumen of the vein. It goes from having resistance against it (while going through the skin) and then once you enter the vein it kind of "gives way" and it easy to push, that's when you know to stop!!

If you need a little extra practice, depending on where you're from I guess, I live in Seattle and one of the community colleges here offers a course that you go to every saturday for 5 weeks. You practice on each other, which is sometimes not pleasant, but I felt way more confident each time I drew.


234 Posts

The best piece of advice I got is that veins bounce. When they aren't jumping out at you feel for something that "bounces". That has helped tremedously. You will be good at in no time. I wasn't too good at it until for one job I had to draw blood on 50 people in one day and since then I have been on easy street. I use butterfly needles because I just suck at using vaccutaner needles. You will get the feel for it and be a pro in no time!

iluvivt, BSN, RN

2,773 Posts

Specializes in Infusion Nursing, Home Health Infusion. Has 32 years experience.

It is crucial that you learn the anatomy of the arm and its vessels and nerves,especially those of the antecubital fossa.You need to avoid the nerves and arteries and know what to do if you do hit one. One of the leading professors in IV Therapy,Dr Marci Ryder once stood up in one of my first IV classes and whipped out a needle and told us you see is a weapon...and if you are going to use it you better make darn sure you know what you are doing. Those words have always stuck with me and I make sure I educate myself first and then add in what others have to teach. So you are right in not taking this lightly..find a good book and educate yourself before you even start. I noticed that Lynn Philips has a new chapter on phlebotomy in her current IV Therapy text. Education and careful training are the keys here.


10 Posts

thank you all SO much! you don't know how much i appreciate every word of advice given here. we'll see how it pays off next week!

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