It’s hard to believe that we only have four more weeks of clinical rotations. I am in my ninth—and final—rotation, and looking back, I think the phlebotomy rotation was definitely the most unique and challenging. Unlike the rest of the rotations, phlebotomy (i.e., drawing patients’ blood) is performed outside the clinical lab and is all about patient care. This pushed many of my classmates and me outside our comfort zones, but it was still very exciting and rewarding.
After one day of training and practice, I was placed in an outpatient phlebotomy service where I was responsible for drawing patients’ blood under the supervision of a trained phlebotomist. For the few minutes we spent with the patient, we were completely in control of their care and well-being. This was a very new and unfamiliar experience for me. Thankfully, the first patient whom I drew was calm and comfortable, which helped me feel a little more confident. It was pretty nerve-racking, but it went well!
The rest of the week seemed to fly by as we got more comfortable performing phlebotomy. It was stressful at times, but I learned how enjoyable interacting with, and caring for, patients can be.
This was a great opportunity to get out of the laboratory and gain a new perspective on the lab-testing process. It’s so important to keep in mind the humanity that’s behind the test tubes that we work with every day.
My reflection on the phlebotomy rotation wouldn’t be complete without mentioning the amazing team of phlebotomists I trained with at the Charlton-LA desk. All of the trainers were incredibly patient and encouraging, for both the patients and me. They were wonderful teachers and wanted us to get as much hands-on experience as possible. Whenever we struggled, they tried to coach us through the procedure so that we could successfully finish the blood draw. However, if they were ever uncomfortable with us drawing blood, they took over, putting the needs of the patient first.
Seeing how well this team of phlebotomists worked together and how much they enjoyed their jobs made me even more excited to begin my career as a medical laboratory scientist.