Phlebotomists are essential allied health professionals responsible for drawing blood from patients for laboratory testing. However, many people are uncertain about the scope of practice for phlebotomists and often wonder if they can start IVs and give injections.
In this blog post, we will explore the different tasks that phlebotomists perform, discuss whether or not they can start IVs and give injections, and provide an overview of the training required to become a skilled phlebotomist.
By the end of this blog, you’ll have a clear understanding of what phlebotomists can and cannot do, as well as the qualifications necessary for them to perform these tasks safely and effectively.
Scope of Practice for Phlebotomists
The scope of practice is a set of regulations that outlines a particular profession or specialty’s specific duties and job responsibilities. In the case of phlebotomists, their primary role is to draw blood from patients for laboratory testing. They are trained to perform venipuncture, which involves using a needle to puncture a vein and collect blood.
Phlebotomists must follow strict safety protocols to minimize the risk of infection and injury to themselves and their patients when drawing blood. They must use sterile equipment, properly dispose of used needles, and label samples accurately to avoid errors.
While phlebotomists play a vital role in the healthcare industry, they cannot diagnose medical conditions or prescribe medications. These tasks are reserved for licensed physicians and other healthcare professionals who are specially trained to perform them safely and effectively.
It’s essential to be aware of the limitations of a phlebotomist’s scope of practice to avoid potential harm to patients and ensure that they receive appropriate medical care. If a patient requires additional clinical procedures beyond drawing blood, they must seek out licensed healthcare professionals authorized to perform those tasks.
Can a Phlebotomist Start an IV?
So, can phlebotomists start IVs? This is a common question for many prospective phlebotomists. The answer, however, is a little complicated.
Intravenous lines are catheters inserted into a vein to infuse medications, provide fluids, or put nutrition directly into the bloodstream. IV therapy is a quick way to give patients what they need to start feeling better. Because of this, starting an IV and administering IV therapy requires specialized training and skills.
In many states, phlebotomists cannot start IV therapy. However, in some states, they may be able to do so if they receive additional education, training, or IV certification.
Who Can Start IVs?
It’s important to note that there are different types of IVs, and not all medical professionals have the correct IV certification. Professional nurses, physicians, or other IV therapists with specialized IV certification often start IVs. The qualifications required to administer IV therapy vary by state and depend on the training and experience a healthcare professional has received.
IV certification courses are often open for healthcare professionals like phlebotomy technicians, medical assistants, and nursing students interested in becoming IV-certified.
Patients should always consult with their healthcare provider or recruiter and ask about the specific tasks that phlebotomists can perform in their state. If a phlebotomist is not authorized to administer IV therapy, the patient may need to seek out additional medical services from registered nurses or an IV therapist with the necessary qualifications.
Training Required to Become a Skilled Phlebotomist
Becoming a skilled phlebotomist requires education and training, with classroom instruction and clinical experience. Many programs require students to complete a certain number of hours of hands-on training before becoming certified.
Ready to start your journey of becoming a phlebotomist? Keep reading to learn what you need to do to enter this field.
Earn Your GED
To become a phlebotomist, the first step is earning a General Education Development (GED) or high school diploma. A GED is equivalent to a high school diploma and demonstrates that an individual has the skills and knowledge necessary to succeed in post-secondary education.
Enroll in a Phlebotomy Program
After obtaining a GED, enrolling in a phlebotomy program is next. Phlebotomy programs are available at community colleges, vocational schools, and technical institutes. These programs typically include classroom instruction and hands-on training in venipuncture techniques, infection control, medical terminology, and how to draw blood.
Students must complete several hours of clinical experience to gain real-world experience and develop their skills before becoming certified. After completing the program, students can take the certification exam to become certified phlebotomists and start working in the healthcare industry.
Standard Phlebotomy Certification
To become a certified phlebotomist, you must complete a phlebotomy training program covering anatomy and physiology, venipuncture techniques, infection control procedures, and medical terminology. Certification requirements vary depending on the state, but most require completing an accredited program and passing an exam.
Additional Training for IV Insertion and Injection Administration
You may want to receive additional clinical work and education if you’re a phlebotomist wishing to expand your scope of practice. For example, many states require phlebotomists who want to start an IV to complete a specialized course on intravenous therapy and the insertion procedure. Your class may also require completing training hours in a hospital or other clinical setting.
Ongoing Education and Training
To maintain their certification and stay up-to-date with current medical practices and regulations, phlebotomists must participate in ongoing education and training. Continuing education courses cover new blood collection techniques, best practices for infection control, and advances in medical technology.
It’s crucial to ensure that phlebotomists receive the necessary education and training to perform their jobs safely and effectively. Ongoing education and training help them stay up-to-date with new procedures, technologies, and regulations and provide the best possible care for their patients.
Start Your Phlebotomy Journey
Phlebotomists play an essential role in the healthcare system, and their scope of practice can vary by state. It’s critical to understand the qualifications necessary for phlebotomists to start IVs and give injections so that patients receive appropriate care.
Whether you’re just starting or looking to expand your skillset, you must receive the necessary education and training to become a knowledgeable and skilled phlebotomist. You can embark on an exciting journey of providing excellent patient care with the right resources.
Ready to get started? Browse open phlebotomist jobs on AlliedTravelCareers to find your first gig.