Blood draw from the elderly or those with tiny veins

Blood draw from the elderly or those with tiny veins

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A lot of people have very small veins making it next to impossible to draw blood.

Would a nitroglycerin tablet (or some other vasodilator) before drawing blood help to enlarge veins?

When we need to collect blood from patients we typically draw blood from peripheral veins that are superficial. These are the veins that you can see in some individuals hands and forearms. There are superficial leg veins that are visible. Drugs like nitroglycerin or other vasodilators do not have significant effects on the superficial veins that you'd be trying to withdrawal blood from in the extremities (i.e. arms and legs).

If you wanted to really engorge someone's veins, you'd likely have to load them up with intravenous fluids. However, this would not be safe in patients needing routine blood draws; especially elderly people who might become fluid-overloaded to the point at which the develop congestive heart failure. Younger patients might temporarily have minimal increases in their circulating blood volume, but their kidneys would very quickly eliminate the excess fluid as urine.

I think the use of drugs for simple things like a blood draw should be a last resort. Having a cup of tea or two can work wonders at raising your blood volume and making the blood draw easier.

A nitroglycerin tablet would risk systemic side effects in many patients, so a topical ointment could be used to minimize these effects. Nitroglycerin has been applied topically over the venipuncture site to cause a transient vasodilation, and potentially make the blood draw easier. There are varying reports on its efficacy - Hecker et al. (1983) found nitroglycerin ointment helped venipuncture, Griffith et al. (1994) found it made no difference in vein size.

All About Butterfly Needles

Michael Menna, DO, is board-certified in emergency medicine. He is an attending emergency medicine physician at White Plains Hospital in White Plains, New York and also works at an urgent care center and a telemedicine company that provides care to patients across the country.

A butterfly needle is a device used to draw blood from a vein or deliver intravenous (IV) therapy to a vein. Also called a winged infusion set or scalp vein set, a butterfly needle consists of a very thin hypodermic needle, two flexible "wings," a flexible transparent tubing, and a connector. The connector can be attached to a vacuum tube or collection bag to draw blood or to tubing from an infusion pump or IV bag to deliver fluids or medications. Medications can also be delivered directly to the connector via a syringe.

Butterfly needles offer certain advantages over straight needles. For instance, they allow for more precise placement, particularly in hard-to-access veins. They aren't the best option in every case, however.

Mistaken Identity

At first glance, a butterfly needle resembles a Huber needle, which is also winged. Huber needles, however, are bent at a 90-degree angle so that they can be securely placed in an implanted chemotherapy port.

What to Expect During the Draw

No one looks forward to getting their blood drawn, but the procedure is usually brief and uneventful. Most people are in and out of the lab room in under 15 minutes. The phlebotomist will begin by gently pressing his or her fingers against your skin to locate the best vein. Then he or she will don gloves, clean the area with an alcohol pad, tie a tourniquet around your upper arm to increase blood flow, ask you to make a fist, and insert the needle.

Tip: Chatting helps. One Medical phlebotomists make a point of engaging you in conversation to help you relax so that the needle prick is a little less painful. Chat up your phlebotomist and distract yourself from the draw!

Our phlebotomists are skilled at drawing blood from a variety of patients. Some veins are trickier to draw from than others. To coax out a shy vein, the phlebotomist might tighten the tourniquet, spend additional time palpating your veins, or place a warm pad against your skin. Taking the time upfront to locate the best vein is time well spent. A phlebotomist’s goal is to draw your blood as easily and painlessly as possible–and only once! If the phlebotomist is not successful after two sticks, he or she may recommend that you come back another day.

Tip: Know your limits. If you’ve fainted in the past or have a phobia of needles, let the phlebotomist know right away. They can position you so you’re less likely to faint, keep their needles out of your line of sight, or use the right words to soothe you during the draw.

Efficiency and Safety

Venipuncture Methods

The Vacutainer system is particularly effective when multiple samples are required. The phlebotomist simply waits until the first tube is filled and then replaces it with another tube. As long as the needle continues to be positioned correctly, multiple tubes can be inserted and filled.

The Vacutainer system of venipuncture uses a closed system which reduces the risk of spilled blood. This has the advantage of protecting the phlebotomist from inadvertent exposure to blood-born pathogens.

  • The Vacutainer system is particularly effective when multiple samples are required.
  • The Vacutainer system of venipuncture uses a closed system which reduces the risk of spilled blood.


Women are more likely to develop DVT during pregnancy and in the 4 to 6 weeks after giving birth. That's when they have higher levels of estrogen, which may make blood clot more easily. The pressure of their expanding uterus can slow blood flow in the veins as well. Certain blood disorders can boost their chances of having DVT even more.

Blood Spots Under the Skin

The sight of blood spots under the skin could be a bit scary for you, but actually, it is not a major health issue in most cases. Read this article to gather more information on this problem.

The sight of blood spots under the skin could be a bit scary for you, but actually, it is not a major health issue in most cases. Read this article to gather more information on this problem.

Some people tend to get bruises and blood spots more easily. That does not mean that they are suffering from any major health problem. It is commonly found in elderly people. The blood spots appear in areas like forearms, hands, legs and feet. Women are more susceptible to this problem as compared to men. The spots mostly show up on their thighs, arms and buttocks. Such spots have a natural tendency to spread from the upper part of the body to the lower side because of the gravity. A blood spot on the leg often takes longer time to disappear than those on the upper part of the body such as arms or face.

Types of Blood Spots

There are two different forms of blood spots under the skin. One is purpura which can be described as red or purple discoloration on the skin. Here, the size of the spots vary in between 0.3-1 cm. They appear as bleeding occurs under the skin, but is not because of any damage to the blood vessels. The other one is petechiae which are tiny flat spots that are red or purple in color and are less than 2 mm in size. This happens when the blood vessels are ruptured and the blood leaks out and gets into the surrounding tissues.

Causes of Bleeding Under the Skin

Spots of blood under the skin usually appear all of a sudden without any external injury. Following are the probable causes that trigger bleeding under the skin:

  • With aging, the fat layers under the skin become thin. As a result, the padding effect of the skin deteriorates. For this reason, in elderly people, even a minor injury on the skin can lead to the breakage of underlying blood vessels.
  • Health problems that affect blood clotting, like hemophilia, thrombocytopenia, or any other kinds of blood disorders, lupus, cirrhosis, certain forms of cancer like leukemia or multiple myeloma, and so on.
  • Any kind of infection that leads to accumulation of toxic substances in the blood or tissues.
  • Swelling in the blood vessels or vasculitis.
  • It may happen after taking medicines like aspirin and anticoagulants that cause thinning of blood.
  • In some people, it occurs due to hereditary reasons.
  • Malnutrition caused by deficiency of vitamins B12, C, K or folic acid.
  • In case the spots appear soon after an injury, and are accompanied by excessive swelling and pain, it could be due to a sprain or a fracture that requires immediate medical attention.

In most cases, blood spots disappear on their own and do not require any treatment. However, some home treatments can speed up the healing process.

  • Proper rest is very important to get rid of these spots fast.
  • If there is pain and swelling in the area, then application of ice pack can reduce both. Do not apply ice on them for more than 15 minutes at a time. After applying ice for 10-15 minutes, take a break for a few hours and then reapply it.
  • Try to keep the injury site in an elevated position, above the level of heart, in order to bring down the swelling faster.
  • In the first 3 days, avoid heat compression or hot bath as heat promotes swelling. Later on, you can apply heat and cold compression alternatively and it has been proved to be beneficial.
  • A gentle massage improves blood circulation in the affected area and heals up the damaged tissues. However, if rubbing of the area gives pain, you should avoid massaging.

Those who get blood spots quite frequently should stop drinking alcohol and avoid use of tobacco products. This is because alcohol may aggravate the swelling in the bruised spot and smoking delays repair work of the damaged tissues by restricting the blood supply to the injury site.

Disclaimer: This HealthHearty article is for informative purposes only, and should not be used as a replacement for expert medical advice.

A stitch in time

The first signs that young blood could blunt the ravages of aging came more than 60 years ago when a team at Cornell University — using a somewhat ghoulish procedure devised a century earlier and used to study wound healing — sutured together two rats so that they would share a common circulatory system. After old and young rats were joined for many months, the bones of both animals became similar in weight, volume and density, thus helping to ward off the bone brittleness that typically accompanies old age.

Some 15 years later, researchers at the University of California performed their own old–young rat pairing experiments. As they reported in 1972, older partners in this arrangement lived around 10 to 20 percent longer than control rats paired to other old animals.

The rodent-conjoining technique, known as parabiosis, then fell out of favor for many years. That is, until the beginning of this century, when scientists working in three different laboratories at Stanford University collectively revived the approach. Many of those same scientists would go on to create the competing companies that have become synonymous with young-blood therapeutics today.

First, a group led by Amy Wagers and Irv Weissman used parabiotic mice to track the fate and movement of blood stem cells. That research wasn’t focused on aging, but their method captured the imagination of two other Stanford scientists who studied longevity, Irina and Michael Conboy — a wife-and-husband duo working in the lab of Thomas Rando at the time. They learned the method from Wagers and went on to show that young blood could rejuvenate tissue-specific stem cells that had grown sluggish with age. By uniting the circulatory systems of young and old mice, the Conboys restored youthful molecular signatures in the aged animals and reactivated the regenerative capacity of various organs, including muscle and liver.

Two more scientists at Stanford, Tony Wyss-Coray and Saul Villeda, then extended those findings to the brain, reporting that young blood transmitted via parabiosis enhanced the production of new neurons, a process that is usually in decline in old age. The same team later showed that injections of young blood plasma alone were sufficient to produce similar effects.

For decades, rodent experiments with parabiosis, which involves surgically joining circulatory systems, have shown that old animals can benefit from sharing blood with much younger animals. Scientists are now focused on elucidating how that may work, with a number of biotech companies eager to translate the science into anti-aging therapies. (Knowable Magazine)

The drivers of these rejuvenating effects remain somewhat mysterious, but there are several leading molecular candidates. Irina Conboy, after she and Michael moved to UC Berkeley, showed that oxytocin — a hormone best known for helping with childbirth and breastfeeding — also promotes muscle stem cell regeneration in an age-specific fashion. Wyss-Coray’s lab detailed the brain-revitalizing effects of TIMP2, another blood-borne factor enriched in young plasma. And Wagers, who started her own group at Harvard, focused on a protein called growth differentiation factor 11, or GDF11, which seemed to improve aspects of age-related heart disease, neurodegeneration and muscle wasting.

Wagers went on to form a company called Elevian that now plans to test whether factory-produced versions of GDF11 can help treat stroke and other age-related diseases. Wyss-Coray, meanwhile, started Alkahest, a company focused in large part on administering young plasma preparations to people with dementia and other brain disorders.

What causes a varicocele?

In most cases, the reason why the veins (blood vessels) become larger is because the valves of the small veins in the scrotum do not function well. There are one-way valves at intervals along the veins. The valves open to allow blood to flow towards the heart, but close when blood flow slows to stop blood flowing backwards.

If these valves do not work well, blood can flow backwards (due to gravity) and pool in the lower parts of the vein to form a varicocele. (This is similar to how varicose veins form in legs.)

It is not clear why the valves do not work well.

A varicocele may (rarely) develop if there is a blockage of larger veins higher in the tummy (abdomen). This puts back-pressure on the smaller veins in the scrotum which then enlarge (dilate). This is only likely to occur in men older than 40. For example, if a varicocele suddenly develops in an older man, it may indicate a tumour of the kidney has developed which is pressing on veins.

It must be stressed, the vast majority of varicoceles develop in teenagers and young men and are not due to a serious condition.

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Hard to Find Veins When Drawing Blood, Starting IVs, Venipuncture

What if you can’t find veins on a patient, yet you need to start an IV, draw blood, or perform other venipuncture procedures? This happens more often than you’d think, and even seasoned nurses struggle to find veins in patients who are obese, dehydrated, or suffering from advanced renal or heart disease.

Luckily, there are some things you can do to increases your chances of sticking one of those hard-to-find veins.

*Disclaimer: Before you start, always remember to follow the latest protocols and best practices for your area.

How to Find Veins in Patients

First, it’s important to keep in mind that your patient will likely have a vein to stick. I’ve had many patients tell me that they are impossible to stick, yet I’ve been able to successfully hit their vein. Nevertheless, there will be times when you can’t easily find a vein, and you must resort to other tactics.

Tip #1: Use Palpation to Find Difficult Veins, not Sight

When you have healthy patients, those veins are popping out and very easy to see. However, when your patient isn’t so healthy, you’ll have to rely on palpation to find those difficult veins.

This is where it becomes very important to have those vein locations memorized. While there can be variations in the anatomy of your patients, the vein locations should be consistent.

Credit: Paladjai, Shutterstock

Next, you’ll have to learn through experience what a vein actually feels like as you palpate the arm. I learned this by practicing on myself. I’d apply a tourniquet to my arm and then feel around the front and back.

Veins have a very unique feel to them. They are squishy yet bouncy. I can still remember trying to palpate when I was a new nurse, and I’d ask my preceptor, “Is this a vein?” She’d respond, “No, that’s just a ligament (or tendon).”

By practicing on yourself (and other healthy people with good veins), you’ll become familiar with the feel of a vein. This will enable you to start IVs by palpation, rather than by sight.

Tip #2: Use Gravity and a Tourniquet

If you still can’t find veins by palpation, you can always use gravity and a tourniquet to help the veins become engorged and visible. Veins are very much like your typical water hose: if you kink the hose, what happens? Pressure builds up, and the hose expands.

Veins operate in a similar way. If you apply a tourniquet and have the patient hold their arm down and tighten or pump their fist, the veins will become engorged and more visible, which will increase your chances of finding a vein to stick.

However, keep in mind that this technique can’t always be used, especially in cases where the patient is having blood drawn for sensitive lab work, as fist pumping can alter blood levels of potassium and other things. Nevertheless, you’d be surprised at how effective this can be in finding veins.

Tip #3: Use Vein Finders or Vein Lights

In my experience, the first two methods mentioned above (palpation and tourniquet / gravity) will help you find veins in the majority of your patients. Nevertheless, sometimes you have to take it a step further and use another method.

Vein finders often use infrared light to detect veins in the arm, while vein lights help to illuminate the skin to reveal hidden veins. These can be helpful in situations where you can’t use the tourniquet and hand pumping technique.

Credit: RossHelen/Shutterstock

Tip #4: Use Ultrasound to Find Veins

If you don’t have a vein finder or vein light, ultrasound techniques can also be used to discover veins. One time I had a patient who thought that they’d have to have a central line before the stress test, because they felt that I’d be unable to find a good vein to stick.

Central lines can be very expensive and lead to an increased risk of infection. Therefore, I consulted with ultrasound, and I was able to find a vein to stick, which saved the patient from the cost and risk of having a central line placed for the procedure.

Credit: Racha Phuangpoo / Shutterstock

Nevertheless, if you do have a patient who will be admitted for extra procedures, a central line might make sense. You can always consult with the physician to see if the patient is a good candidate for a central line.

And finally, some nurses use hot compresses to help the veins become engorged. I have never used this method myself, but some nurses prefer this method.

What Should I Expect from Phlebotomy Training?

This guide will cover everything you need to know about phlebotomy training and what you should expect. If you have an interest in becoming a phlebotomist, it’s important to know what you’ll be doing during your training period. It’s also important to know why these different aspects of training are essential. Being able to use them in the ‘real world’ is the ultimate test for a good phlebotomist.

There are different parts of phlebotomy training basics to be aware of. Understanding will be expected of you can help you make an informed decision about becoming a phlebotomist.

Can Anyone Become a Phlebotomist?

If you decide to start training to be a phlebotomist, no prior college courses or experience in medicine is needed. Since it’s an entry-level job, almost anyone is qualified to take a training program for this particular career field.

It does take a high school diploma or GED equal to sign up for a phlebotomy training course. Even if you didn’t have the best grades in high school, it’s okay. But, you need to do well enough to pass and receive your diploma or its equal.

You are also required to be at least 18 years old to sign up for a phlebotomy training course. This makes it an excellent option for anyone just graduating high school and looking for a successful career path right away. College isn’t always an option for recent graduates. Phlebotomy training lets you learn a specific job in less than a year and starts you on the road to a lifelong career.

Though it’s not necessary, you might have an easier time during training if you enjoy things like chemistry and biology. People interested in phlebotomy may also excel with certain personality traits.

These include things like:

  • Compassion
  • Patience
  • Empathy
  • Enjoys working with a variety of different people
  • Works well as a member of a team
  • Strong organizational skills

Certain physical traits can also be helpful to someone considering a career in phlebotomy. You may be on your feet long hours, and you should be able to move reasonably quickly. While these traits aren’t required for training or the job, you may find the experience easier if you have them.

Where Can I Complete Phlebotomy Classes?

Because phlebotomy is such a fast-growing career path, there are many places to train to become a phlebotomist across the United States. Some colleges offer the phlebotomy program. But, you don’t always need any degree to become a certified phlebotomist.

There are also training facilities across the country, too. Because so many types of people have an interest in phlebotomy, courses usually have varying schedules. So, if you work another job, you’re likely to be able to find classes at night, on weekends, etc.

Some hospitals are so eager to find qualified phlebotomists that they offer in-house training programs. This is a great way to get proper training. But, it can also make it easier for you to find a job afterward. Many times, the hospitals that train phlebotomists are eager to hire them. This is because those individuals know the hospital rules, safety methods, etc.

If you want to go one step further and become certified, most training facilities offer it as an option. There are also national organizations that provide training programs, including certification.

There’s a good chance you’ll find a training facility or classes offered somewhere near you. A quick online search of phlebotomy training courses near your city can help you to find the perfect fit. If you’re not able to travel frequently, you can also enroll in online courses. These will help to take you through the classroom basics.

What to Expect from a Phlebotomy Training Course

In the 8+ months that you’ll be studying to become a phlebotomist, the programs are usually broken down into two sections. The first part will focus heavily on a classroom-type setting. The second half of your training will be much more hands-on. Let’s break down these areas of training a bit more, so you know what to expect.

The first half of your training will focus on what it means to be a phlebotomist and what you can expect on a regular basis in a typical workday.

Some of the topics covered in most courses include:

  • Human anatomy
  • Systems of the body (nervous, respiratory, circulatory, etc.)
  • Lab safety rules
  • How to label blood samples
  • How to perform venipuncture (drawing blood)
  • Medical terminology
  • Blood composition

One of the most important things you’ll learn is how to sample blood and different techniques for doing it. You’ll work with a lot of different people every day. This includes people of different ages and body types. Drawing blood from a newborn or a child is different than drawing blood from an adult or senior citizen. Learning the best way to draw from every type of person is necessary to be successful.

The second part of most training programs involves drawing blood. All the training in the world can help you understand the process of how to do it, but nothing is better than practicing blood draws for yourself. This is done under the supervision of the instructor or another phlebotomist.

Many times, students practice drawing blood from other students, or volunteers. Each training program has a specific number of successful blood draws that must be completed for a student to pass. Usually, this number is well over 100.

This part of training typically takes place in a hospital or clinic. So, not only does the student get direct supervision, but they also get a feel for the environment they could be working in.

Types of Equipment Used by a Phlebotomist

One of the most critical parts of phlebotomy training is understanding the basic equipment you’ll have to use on a regular basis. Some pieces of equipment can be added. It all depends on the type of testing that’s being done.

But, your training should include how to use the following tools properly:

  • Collection tubes with color-coded tops
  • Needles of different sizes used for collection tubes or as a syringe
  • Tourniquets
  • Needle disposal units
  • Alcohol Swabs
  • Gloves
  • Cotton swabs

Being knowledgeable of your equipment is essential in phlebotomy. Using the right equipment for each patient is necessary. This is all a part of being organized, too. Most phlebotomists will enter a room to draw blood with a tray. This tray should have all the necessary equipment for that individual patient.

Safety Procedures during Phlebotomy Training

Learning safety and sanitization in phlebotomy training is imperative. Each hospital, clinic, or private practice has their own rules on what you can and can’t do. Many of these rules include extra safety precautions specifically for that location. But, there are some basic safety rules that all phlebotomists need to follow. These procedures are taught throughout the training period.

One of the most important things a phlebotomist needs to do is protect themselves and their patients. That’s why alcohol swabs are used to clean an area before a needle is used. Phlebotomists should also always wear gloves when they are working with a patient. Personal protective gear should always be worn to keep yourself safe from any spills or accidents.

Using sterile tools is also essential. New needles and blood vials need to be used with every patient. Phlebotomists have to take responsibility for the equipment they use. This is done by testing it out ahead of time and determining which equipment is right for each patient’s testing.

Finally, following safety measures for storing and transporting blood is vital. It’s the responsibility of a phlebotomist to learn about properly labeling the vials of blood they draw. Those vials then need to be organized and transported to a lab for testing. This makes sure the patient’s blood isn’t wasted or mislabeled in any way.

Is Phlebotomy Training Difficult?

It’s easy to think that just because a training program takes less than a year that it’s easy. Whether a phlebotomy training program is easy for someone or not will significantly depend on the individual. Some people might breeze through it without any troubles. Others may find it’s not for them.

One thing to keep in mind is that you’ll probably excel more in phlebotomy training if you have at least some interest in the medical field. It may be difficult for someone who doesn’t have an interest in the human body or its functions. If you’re squeamish about blood, it might not be the career for you in the first place.

Training can be easy when it comes to scheduling. Because so many phlebotomists are needed around the country, it’s pretty simple to find a training program. But, that doesn’t mean the materials covered are always easy. Don’t assume that just because it’s an entry-level job that it isn’t taken seriously.

In fact, because phlebotomists see so many patients a day, it’s important to pass your training program with confidence. If a phlebotomist messes up on the job by mislabeling a blood sample or harming a patient, their career and their place of employment could be in serious trouble.

Perhaps the hardest part of phlebotomy training is the understanding that accidents happen sometimes. So do unfortunate situations. It’s crucial that you’re confident enough in your training and skills that you can handle these situations if they ever come up.

Some potential complications include:

  • Having to use a different draw site if the original can’t be used
  • Blood stops flowing into the tube during a draw
  • Patient has an adverse physical reaction
  • Patient has a hematoma

Training can’t necessarily prepare you to stay calm under pressure. But, the more training you do have, the more likely it is that you’ll be able to hand the above situations professionally.

Does a Phlebotomist Need to Take CPR Training?

Specific phlebotomy training programs throughout the country may either demand or offer extra sections to their courses. One type of training for phlebotomists that is becoming more common within the coursework is CPR training.

While it still isn’t required by all states, most hospitals and clinics looking for phlebotomists prefer someone who can also perform CPR. Anyone working in healthcare should have some CPR training, and it can look good on a job application if you do. Even if you take a training course where CPR isn’t required, it’s a good idea to complete it on your own. In most cases, it only takes a few hours to get CPR certification.

How to Become a Certified Phlebotomist

If you complete your regular phlebotomy training program, you may want to become certified. Not all states require certification. California, Nevada, Louisiana, and Washington are currently the only states that enforce it.

But, it is a growing demand. Even if your state doesn’t enforce it, becoming certified can increase your chances of getting hired in preference to someone else who is not.

Certification also allows you to complete more advanced procedures. Eventually, that can lead to a pay raise or may even let you start out making money than a phlebotomist who isn’t certified.

Many programs that offer phlebotomy training also provide extra training to become certified. Each type of certification is slightly different.

Some of the most common certifications include:

  • Certified Phlebotomy Technician
  • Phlebotomy Technician
  • Registered Phlebotomy Technician
  • National Certified Phlebotomy Technician

The titles tend to vary based on where you choose to get your certification. Obtaining certification from a national, accredited institution is usually the best way to go.

Learning About Routine Venipuncture

Through the entire training program, a phlebotomy student will learn about routine venipuncture. There are many different aspects to what a phlebotomist does each day. But, knowing the basics of venipuncture and how to perform it on many patients is the primary goal of phlebotomy training.

While each program may do things slightly different, the basic concepts are usually taught for routine venipuncture:

  • Introducing yourself and identifying your patient correctly
  • Find a suitable site for venipuncture
  • Prepare the patient, equipment, and site of the puncture
  • Perform the blood draw following correct safety standards
  • Places samples in designated, labeled vials
  • Ensure patient is okay after blood draw with no complications
  • Transport specimens to the laboratory for testing

This might seem like a tedious list to perform many times in a day. But, training will teach you the importance of every single step. Forgetting to do just one can be dangerous. You could be putting yourself or your patient in harm’s way. That’s why each training program requires you to perform so many successful venipunctures before you’re able to pass.

Different Types of Blood Draws

Most people do well with getting blood drawn from their arm. The site is where the bend of your elbow occurs. But, phlebotomists need to be able to draw blood from other areas, too.

There are several reasons why this is so important. Mostly, though, you want to be sure to draw blood from a viable vein. Some people don’t have ‘good’ veins in their arms. As a result, blood can stop flowing during a draw, or you might not be able to get any blood out at all.

Because of these issues, being trained to draw blood elsewhere can be helpful for both you and your patients.

Some other common areas for drawing blood include:

  • Top of the hand
  • Foot
  • Scalp
  • Finger stick (this is used when only a small amount of blood is needed)
  • Heel stick (also used for a small amount of blood, typically on infants)

How to Choose the Right Phlebotomy Training Program

There are many training programs and schools to choose from all over the country. You can decide to take a national training program or find one in your hometown. It can be hard to know you’re choosing the right one. But, there are a few things to keep in mind as you try to find the program that will work best for you.

Asking yourself these questions before making your selection:

  • Is the location convenient? There is no reason you shouldn’t be able to find a training facility somewhere nearby. You’re not going to want to drive a long distance several times a week to attend training. The more convenient the location, the better. Finding something close by can also help to narrow down your options.
  • How long does the program take to complete? Most programs take less than a year to complete, even with certification. But, the length of time can vary. Think about how much time you’re willing to invest in coursework and what different area training programs offer.
  • Is it an accredited program? Perhaps the most important thing to consider when choosing a phlebotomy training school is whether it’s accredited. Accreditation will not only allow you to apply for financial aid if needed, but it can be a necessity for some employers. You’re far more likely to get hired if you trained at an accredited school. Many employers won’t even bother looking at your resume otherwise.

Some people sign up for a program right out of high school. Others want something that fits around their current work schedule. The more a program works for you and your lifestyle, the more likely you are to stick with it.

Is Phlebotomy Training Worth It?

Phlebotomy shows no signs of slowing down as a booming career. In fact, as the population continues to get older and more technology comes forward, it will probably keep growing! Because of that, you’re likely to find more training programs all over the country.

Training to become a phlebotomist can get into one of the best entry-level jobs in the medical field. For the little time it takes to complete training and the low cost of tuition, it’s unlike most other medical positions that can take years of schooling and a lot of money.

Whether you’ve ever considered a career in healthcare or you want a stable job with new responsibilities, training to become a phlebotomist is worth it. We hope this guide has given you a clear picture of what you can expect from a typical training program. Knowing the basics can give you a better idea of whether it’s the right career choice for you.

Louise Carter

I'm Lou, and welcome to Phlebotomy Examiner! I am a Licensed Phlebotomist and Certified Medical Assistant of 15+ years with 14+ years of clinical experience.


  1. Mekinos

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  2. Isdemus

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  5. Tohias

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