- Specialise in taking blood samples from patients for blood tests and analysis
- You'll develop specific skills to be able to take the blood easily and put patients at ease
- You'll need to be comfortable with the sight of blood and will need specific immunisations
As a phlebotomist, you'll take blood samples from babies, adults and older people for testing in laboratories.
- Explaining the procedure to patients
- Reassuring nervous or distressed patients
- Inserting a hypodermic needle and drawing off the blood into a tube
- Applying a dressing to the puncture made by the needle
- Labelling the blood sample
- Delivering the sample to the correct laboratory
- Completing records
- Entering data on a computer
You could work in an NHS or private hospital, and you may need to wear protective clothing.
To be a phlebotomist, you'll need customer service skills, thoroughness and attention to detail, the ability to accept criticism and work well under pressure, sensitivity and understanding, patience and the ability to remain calm in stressful situations, the ability to work well with others, knowledge of teaching and the ability to design courses, and knowledge of English language.
You could get into this job through an intermediate apprenticeship as a healthcare science assistant, specialising in phlebotomy. You could also do an intermediate apprenticeship as a healthcare support worker and apply for a trainee role in phlebotomy.
You could also start as a healthcare assistant and work your way up with further training and promotion.
It would be helpful if you've worked or volunteered in a health or social care role.
Direct application is possible if you have at least 2 GCSEs and sometimes a first aid kit certificate. Some employers may ask for a qualification in healthcare or health and social care.
You'll need to pass enhanced background checks, have a first aid certificate, and for some jobs you might need a driving licence.
With experience you could be a senior phlebotomist and have responsibility for more complex work. You could also become a team leader or manager. Your skills and experience in phlebotomy could give you an advantage if you want to go into donor care and work with the NHS Blood and Transplant Service.