While this process is one of the more basic tasks that you will be assigned when working in a hospital, clinic, or medical practice, it can be daunting for many professionals. This is due largely to the fact that patient factors will vary greatly when it comes to drawing blood.
Some individuals will have far more noticeable veins than others, some will be calm about the procedure and others will require a great deal of calming down, etc. Still, if you prepare yourself for any possible variable, you should be able to make drawing blood second nature. Take a look at these tips for drawing blood successfully:
Feel & Touch
When you receive your initial instruction on how to conduct basic blood draws, your instructor will most likely tell you to locate the vein you are targeting by sight. This makes sense, as many individuals, particularly those with very low body fat in their arms, will have extremely visible veins. Phlebotomy Pages advises that individuals use touch as their primary indicator when looking for the vein from which to draw blood.1 Veins will often feel as though they are slightly risen beneath the skin. In the event that you can’t locate the appropriate vein strictly by vision, this can be a great alternative method. If you can see the vein clearly, then this will only help you ensure that you place the needle correctly the first time.
Talk to the patient
It can be easy, especially when you’re conducting multiple blood drawing procedures on a daily basis, to become somewhat detached from the patient that you’re drawing blood from. It’s important to remember that the patient is actually your most valuable resource during this process. With this in mind, you should be sure that you’re getting any requisite or helpful information from your patient before beginning to draw blood. For example, Red Cross Blood has pointed out that many individuals will have had blood drawn before and may be able to point out the vein that was used in that procedure.2 If this is the case, you can streamline the process of locating the proper vein to draw from.
Maintain a level head
It’s important to do everything in your power to ensure the comfort of the patient when drawing blood. After all, you want the experience to be as pleasant for them as possible. But when dealing with a particularly disruptive or difficult individual, it’s imperative to balance both sympathy and professionalism in this matter. If you allow the visible stress or discomfort of your patient to permeate your own mentality, then you’re far more likely to make a mistake or miss the vein. Be sure that you’re doing everything in your power to keep a level mindset before and during the blood drawing process.
1) Phlebotomy Pages, ‘Words of Wisdom From and to Phlebotomists,’ 2014, http://www.phlebotomypages.com/expert_tips.htm
2) The American Red Cross, ‘Tips For A Successful Donation,’ 2015, http://www.redcrossblood.org/donating-blood/tips-successful-donation